It must be getting tiring for Thierry Henry.
So accustomed to winning as a player, to sit facing the press video-conference, and dig deeply for answers to why the latest Impact set-back happened, must feel like alien territory, even if he had some preparation time during his previous coaching spell at AS Monaco.
The disappointing thing for all concerned of a bleu/blanc/noir persuasion was that things seemed to be heading in the right direction a few weeks back, until Rudy Camacho’s careless giveaway to Toronto in the last minute of their most recent visit to Stade Saputo.
A 4-2 success at basement club Vancouver Whitecaps apart, everything has been downhill for the Impact ever since.
Gone is their Canadian Championship, gone were four players to straight red cards, gone were the team to spend a couple of weeks away from home on the road, and fading fast are the club’s chances of play-off football in a pockmarked season where only four of 14 Eastern Conference teams will fail to extend their season.
Last night after a bright opening things panned out as we’ve come to expect. In recent games if a red card didn’t swing success away from Henry’s team, then a totally abstract performance did. And so it was last evening, they fell backwards after a perfect start conceding three poor goals and another through an unlucky deflection. At least tonight’s red card didn’t alter the game.
It was not a good night for teenager Luis Binks. He allowed Barlow to get in front of him for the Red Bulls second goal, the deflection was off his boot for the third, credited to Daniel Royer, and he received a straight red rather harshly, after mistiming his tackle on Hernandez on the edge of the box.
It was a questionable call as Fanni looked capable of thwarting the Red Bulls attacker’s route to goal. Mr Mendoza the ref had opted initially for yellow, but clearly had a word placed in his ear by David Gantar the VAR, and after a monitor check, Mendoza rescinded the yellow and replaced it with a straight red. Either way the Impact would have gone down a man.
Yet the Impact began the game purposefully, with Lappalainen - he really must learn some new moves - looking like he was in the mood, before Bojan was left in space and unchecked allowing him to unleash a wonderful 30-yard missile blast Jensen in the Red Bulls goal.
The lead lasted only 10 minutes. Maciel lost the ball emerging from defence, it was turned back into the box and there was Barlow all alone to provide the finish despite Brault-Guillard’s late attentions.
Barlow was again the marksman on 35, stealing in front of Binks close to the line to finish easily.
The Impact were well in the game at this stage, however the play was so open it was clear more goals could follow at either end. And they did. Within an hour the Impact were down 1-4 to a team that hadn’t scored a home goal in 301 minutes before kick-off.
Royer’s shot took a slight deflection off Binks’ boot, just enough to loop the ball over the helpless Diop, and a minute later Kaku grabbed a fourth.
Heads were down again in the Impact camp as the game took on the complexion of a complete collapse. Indeed the Impact were spared the ignominy of a fifth concession and Diop the embarrassment of allowing Casseres’ shot pass right through him by a kindly VAR intervention this time.
The Impact now falls to 8th in the East, just two points above the cut-off line for play-off contention. It’s not been a good last couple of weeks and Henry must rally his troops for Saturday night’s Red Bull Arena encounter with Chicago Fire, when the aim simply has to be the collection of all three points.
The Red Bulls jump up to 7th, but more importantly have put 4 points between themselves and Montreal on the rung below.
NYRB - Jensen - Egbo (Pendant, 59), Parker, Nelis, Duncan - Valot (Yearwood, 59), Casseres - Stroud (Fernandez, 66), Romero (Jorgensen, 82), Royer - Barlow (Tetteh, 66)
Bench (not used) - Mines, Fernandez, Pendant, White.
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Fanni, Binks, Raitala - Wanyama, Maciel (Sejdic, 58), Piette, Lappalainen - Bojan, Urruti
Bench - Pantemis, Sirois, Camacho, Waterman, Yao, Bayiha, Shome
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Assistant Referees: Claudiu Badea, Kyle Atkins
4th Official: Elvis Osmanovic
VAR: David Gantar