NewYorkRedBulls.com Correspondent Craig Hutchinson continues his regular column on RedBullsReader.com today with a look at the Red Bulls road point in a driving rainstorm in Colorado, and weighs in on this week’s Atlantic Cup match with DC United.  If you have a question or comment for Craig, share your thoughts in the comments section.

The Nation’s birthday has not been kind to the franchise over the years. A 1-8-1 record is nothing to be proud of; neither was the 4-0 spanking at the hands of Colorado last season. But then again, this season has been one for slaying demons. Not that coming away with a point is necessarily slaying a demon, but it is an improvement.

Former coach Juan Carlos Osorio tinkered with a 4-5-1 formation last season, often to counter the attacking threats of the opposition. Current coach Hans Backe went with a 4-5-1 against Colorado with more attacking purposes in mind. By playing Joel Lindpere behind Angel, it was hoped his playmaking abilities would be free to roam the spacious field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and also provide extra cover for Dane Richards and Sinisa Ubiparipovic to push forward from the wide positions. It was a decent idea in principle, but didn’t quite pan out in reality as Colorado dominated the early minutes and deservedly took the lead. The Red Bulls finally settled down and found the equalizer through the red hot JPA who showed a great first touch and finish – but Colorado must wonder how they left the opposition’s most dangerous goal scorer with that much time and space directly from a corner.

The most impressive thing from the game for me was the adjustments from Hans. The poor conditions of rain and wind (not to mention altitude) were making it hard to play the football he hoped for and it became evident in the second half that the team was content to settle for a draw. Rather than staying with the perceived more defensive 4-5-1, Richards was moved up front to assist Angel in a traditional 4-4-2; this kept Colorado a little more honest in their attacking play as they did not want to risk the threat of a counter attack if they left Richards’ pace and Angel’s prowess unattended. That said, Colorado still created chances and New York was the team a little more relieved to come away with a point – but given the conditions and the team’s past record in these games, four points in two road games is very acceptable, especially when there is a home game against the last place (smiley face) DC United coming up.

Seriously though, DC have a pride issue right now and there’s nothing more they’d like to do than shove it down the Red Bulls throats at their own stadium. The coaching staff also has some selection decisions to make with Carl Robinson and Brian Nielsen back in contention after injury, plus whether to recall previous starters Roy Miller, Mike Petke and Salou Ibrahim to the line up. It will be interesting to see what team takes the field against DC, especially considering that it could potentially be the final game before new arrivals join when the transfer window opens on the 15th (anyone else a little giddy with anticipation?).

Despite all the excessive talk about formations and tactics here today, I have plenty more coming as I spend the next week in Bloomsburg, PA undergoing a strenuous 50 hour coaching license (the NSCAA’s Premier Coaching Diploma). Unfortunately for me, it means I will not be around to see the team in practice this week and Saturday’s game against DC will be the first (and hopefully only) home game I’m forced to miss this season. But with the team currently sitting in second place in the East and 10 points taken out of a possible 12 in the last four games, the pressure will be on Hans and his team to ensure 3 points and a positive performance to take us to the eagerly anticipated opening of the transfer window.

Until next time…I’m Craig Hutchinson.

Craig hails from the town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England and gained a BA honors degree in Sports Studies and Physical Education at the University of York St. John, North Yorkshire, England. After graduation, he worked for five years as a professional youth soccer coach throughout the United States. He joined the New York Red Bulls in 2008 as a coach in the youth Training Programs and Regional Development Schools. He became the team’s video broadcaster at the beginning of the 2010 season.



  1. Billy S. Says:

    i really enjoy reading your weekly colums, i would like to read 2 a week butht migt be asking for a bit to much right, also good luck on your coaching licences :]!

  2. christian Says:

    Blah Blah Blah, this would be alot more interesting if it said in big bold letters “thierry henry is finally officially a red bull”

  3. alex Says:

    does it really need to be said. Henry is a red bull… Ida though that was pretty obvious by now. if it were anyone else then it would be the best kept secret rather then the worst but somehow i doubt that.

    Great article though keep em coming and if you got the time i agree with billy s but then again I’m sure this is not the only column that you have to write 😛 (but the most important)

  4. Chris Brunt Says:

    Good article Craig. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Ben Barber Says:

    Craig, is it likely that Heny will partner JPA up front then or will they look to offload the Colombian goal machine?

  6. Steve Hoyle Says:

    Craig, I am interested in this town you hail from “Barnsley” what is it like? I was told to go there and ask fr a nosh, what is this?

  7. Ben Barber Says:

    Steve i def mean Juan Pablo! Cant stop laughin at your previous comment haha

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