The Red Bulls began the season on a big high, winning five of six games thanks to a rock solid defense and good finishing in the final third.
But after the great start to the season, the New York Red Bulls have fallen back to Earth.
The past three games in MLS have yielded losses, beginning with a 4-0 thrashing compliments of the San Jose Earthquakes, and two losses at their new home arena, Red Bull Park, 1-0 to Seattle, and 3-1 to Columbus.
In those games, the once focused back line came apart for certain decisive moments of those matches, and the rest of the squad has looked lackluster for large chunks of the games.
However, this past weekend, the Red Bulls stunned Italian powerhouse Juventus F.C. 3-1 in a friendly.
What was the reason for the excellent offensive output, you ask?
Because the so called "Baby Bulls" played the game.
The "Baby Bulls" or backups for the Red Bull starting eleven, brought an intensity and attacking flair that had not been seen on the pitch for a couple of weeks.
The boys brought this same energy to the US Open Cup victories on April 27 and May 12 over the expansion Philadelphia Union and the hated rival New England Revolution, which the Red Bulls won 2-1 and 3-0 respectively.
The "Baby Bulls" are a good blend of youth and veteran know how, including young stars such as the number two pick in the 2010 MLS Draft, midfielder Toni Tchani, fourth round pick in the 2010 MLS Draft, forward Conor Chinn, cagey veterans defender Chris Albright, and the immortal forward John Wolyniec.
Due to the disbanding of the MLS Reserve division a couple of seasons ago, friendlies and US Open Cup matches are the only chances these players get to see the pitch in a competitive game.
Surely new head coach Hans Backe has noticed the triumphs of the backups and role players, and hopefully soon he will be willing to give them a chance in the starting lineup in MLS.
It would help give players like forward and captain of the squad Juan Pablo Angel and midfielder Joel Lindpere (when he returns from injury) some rest so they do not have to play so many games in a short amount of time.
On Wednesday May 26, the Red Bulls will host the Colorado Rapids in the US Open Cup qualification final, and Backe will once again look to his young guns and other role players to set the tone, and lead the Red Bulls forward in their quest to be champions.
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