The Red Bulls saw their five match unbeaten streak snapped cleanly by a 3-1 beating at the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night. Conor Casey, Fred, and Sebastian Le Toux scored for the Union, while Bradley Wright-Phillips found his 16th goal of the season for the Red Bulls.

What's most concerning was not giving up another early goal (eight goals conceded in the opening 15 minutes this year). Nor was it a defense that is often softer than a newborn kitten (RBNY has only shut out their opposition three times this year). Nor was it giving up another penalty kick to ensure they couldn't find a way back (Luis Robles has faced eight penalties in 2014).

No, we're concerned by part of coach Mike Petke's explanation after the game:

“We felt very confident aside from being very fatigued, if you look at the first half they weren’t even attempting to build out of the back, they wanted to put it on our end and battle like most teams in this league, and at the end of the day we didn’t put away our chances in the second half we just looked a little flat.”

"Very fatigued," Mike?

Let us ignore that this is a team who notoriously prioritized vacation over the US Open Cup just one month ago. Prior to the Philly match, they had played just three matches - one a week - since June 9th. If they're exhausted during the midweek game in a three game week, Saturday's game against San Jose looks like a dumpster fire waiting to happen.

That's just this week. The Red Bulls have another three game week (Arsenal friendly, away at Real Salt Lake, home for New England) just before the All Star "break" later this month. August brings another three game week with Montreal at home, CD FAS in CONCACAF Champions League play, and away at rival DC. Then there's September: seven matches in 22 days, and only three are at home. That dreaded schedule congestion? It's here, and there's no clear plan to deal with it.

The Red Bulls are on the playoff bubble as it is: 5th place, with four teams within striking distance behind them. They don't have much wiggle room to keep dropping results as they enter the roughest part of their schedule. Not making the playoffs for the first time in five seasons would be disastrous, as would tanking their first CCL berth since 2009.

The situation isn't helped by a lack of quality depth. The roster currently only lists four strikers: Henry, Wright-Phillips, Andre Akpan, and Peguy Luyindula, who mysteriously disappeared from practice on Tuesday for what were described as "personal reasons". For the midfield and defense, there is a clear drop-off in quality after the traditional starters, with albatrosses like Richard Eckersley and non-contributors like Bobby Convey filling precious roster spaces.

The transfer window is open. It's now on Mike Petke and Andy Roxburgh to add some new life to this team before the season is lost.

Next Match: Saturday, July 19th 7:00 PM, vs. San Jose (TV: MSG)