The N.Y. Red Bulls lost 2-0 last Saturday night in Columbus thanks to a brace from Argentine veteran Federico Higuain.
The Columbus Crew were good on the counter and relied heavily on their veteran captain, who delivered on two occasions to wrap up all three points at home against the first-place Red Bulls.
The reasons why the team was wiped clean down in Ohio were simply because they had no veteran leadership on the field — both Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill were unavailable for the game due to injury, and their absence was heavily felt as even Dax McCarty had trouble controlling the midfield, while Fabian Espindola could not find his rhythm up top.
Cahill adds mental and physical toughness to the midfield by covering every blade of grass in the middle third and challenging for every ball. In attacking plays, he makes sure to find himself enough space to get a shot with either his head or foot off in order to finish a team run with a goal. He can even set up teammates if they make the right runs into the space where he sends the ball.
Henry is a legend who can still score magnificent goals, hold up plays, muscle off defenders and set up teammates in the final third. He is the captain of this team due to his ability to control each and every player on the field — he has each and everyone’s respect, which is very important down the stretch.
Without these two, the team plays hard for half of the game and allows their opponents to go on continuous runs/attacks towards the end, which is simply nothing short of dangerous. The team created chances of their own, but to no avail. If they do not learn how to cope without their vets, winning a sufficient amount of games will not be realistic for them.