Ex-Barcelona & Mexico Star Rafa Marquez: NY Red Bulls Teammates Not on My Level

Jake HughesContributor IIISeptember 22, 2011

Marquez's Red Bulls side has struggled this season.
Marquez's Red Bulls side has struggled this season.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

During New York Red Bulls' Wednesday night match against Real Salt Lake, every time former Barcelona star Rafael Marquez touched the ball, a chorus of boos filled Red Bull Arena.

The fan reaction was warranted: as the New Jersey-based Red Bulls (who also boast former Arsenal and Barcelona star Thierry Henry in their ranks) were trailing 3-1 at home to a Salt Lake who have hit a purple patch of form, winning their last five.

New York Red Bulls' home record for the past five games makes for horrific reading for their passionate support.

With this humiliating defeat denting their playoff hopes, Red Bulls have endured a 0-2-3 record in their last five games. 

However, the criticism seemed exclusive to Marquez, who was the only solid performer in a Red Bulls defense that leaves much to be desired.

Tim Ream, the 18th pick of last year's MLS SuperDraft, gifted Salt Lake a crucial second goal, after a series of suicidal defensive play left Real Salt Lake's Fabian Espindola with the easy task of slotting the ball home.

None of the above defensive errors included Marquez, the Mexico captain who has over 100 appearances for his country.

Yet The Designated Player, Marquez, bore the brunt of the torrents of abuse that poured from the terraces.


But now it's the Red Bulls' locker room room Marquez will surely feel the ire from, after his arrogant post-match comments.

Following the morale-draining defeat, a visibly frustrated Marquez said: "I’m focusing on really performing at my highest level. That doesn’t mean that the whole backline can perform at that same level, so that’s a problem.”

Marquez continued: “I think this is a team game, and unfortunately there isn't an equal level between my teammates and me.”

It seems that the criticism Marquez garnered throughout the match affected him, and he is now starting to shift the blame onto his inexperienced team mates.

The truth is, Red Bulls have not been good enough throughout this season. Too many tied games and a leaky backline have hampered a 2011 MLS campaign that had so much promise.

Marquez was unfortunate to be the sole target of Red Bulls fan's fury, but an experienced player such as Marquez should know not to display the arrogance he has, especially after such a demoralizing loss to a playoff rival.

Marquez is better suited in a defensive midfield-type role. But being a DP, and stewarding a back four which has struggled this season, you're always going to get your critics.

Manager Hans Backe, who is under pressure himself, will have to work miracles to save New York Red Bulls' blushes now.