The New York Red Bulls have under-achieved on the pitch throughout the 2011 MLS season. Now, it appears the Red Bulls are imploding from within. Defender Rafael Marquez was highly critical of his teammates following Wednesday's lopsided 3-1 loss at home to Real Salt Lake.
"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 said to the New York Daily News through an interpreter.
"I think this is a team game and unfortunately there isn't an equal level between my teammates and I."
Si.com's Grant Wahl thinks Marquez has it wrong, calling him an "albatross" around New York's neck.
Just when you thought it was impossible for things to get worse in Red Bull Land, they have. Márquez not only threw his teammates under the bus, creating what will no doubt be a contaminated locker room, but he also got it completely wrong. Despite being the third-highest-paid player in MLS -- at a guaranteed $4.6 million a year, or $1.28 million more than the entire Salt Lake team -- Márquez has turned into an albatross around the neck of New York, which is on the hook for two more years of his contract.
Márquez was directly involved in allowing Salt Lake's third goal in the first 20 minutes, in which Fabian Espíndola knifed through the heart of New York's defense unmarked. The Mexican national-teamer was only part of the problem for the Red Bulls -- central defense partner Tim Ream made a horrible gaffe to hand RSL the second goal -- but Márquez is expected to be the veteran leader based on his experience at Barcelona and in three World Cups.
Instead he has played in only 15 of New York's 29 games due mainly to national-team commitments. He has looked uninterested, too slow as a back-line defender and too careless as a holding central midfielder....
These days New York's defense plays better when Márquez isn't on the field, as was the case in the team's 1-0 win last week at Dallas.
Should be an interesting few days around the Red Bulls. And an even more interesting offseason, which is likely to come for New York sooner than anyone thought when the 2011 MLS season began.