If you were feeling a bit anxious before last week's match against the Houston Dynamo, then you must be in full blown panic attack mode now. For the first time in the club's history, the New York Red Bulls are one result away from winning their first piece of significant hardware. Whether that result needs to be a win or just a draw remains to be seen. What we do know, however, is that we're close. Damn Close. Unfortunately, the team standing in our way is none other than the Chicago Fire, and we all know how much they enjoy dashing the hopes of the Metro faithful......who needs a drink?
Here's what we know:
- Chicago will also need a result.
Depending on how Saturday's matches go, the Fire might be playing for a playoff spot or just a way to avoid the play-in round. Either way, they have something to fight for. Taking a win on the road in Red Bull Arena would go a long way in making a statement and upping their confidence for a deep run in the tournament.
- Mike Magee is going to be hungry.
A clear choice for league MVP, Mike Magee has been playing out of his mind all season long. Currently in the front running for the Golden Boot award, the Chicago native is going to be dead set on scoring as many goals as he can. The New York back four are going to have their hands full.
- For New York, confidence is at an all time high.
Anyone who's paid any attention to whats been happening with this team in the last few weeks has witnessed a clear change in the locker room. While videos like Unity and Never Say Die repeat the same old team rhetoric that you hear year in and year out, something about this squad and this season makes us believe it's actually true. The team has finally taken on an identity of it's own by essentially aping head coach Mike Petke's honest and hard working, blue collar personality. The team's confidence in each other is palpable and seems to be infectious. When is the last time you've felt this kind of positive anticipation among the fan base?
- New York City is finally paying attention....sort of.
Murals being painted in Brooklyn? Full articles about the team being published in actual printed news papers? Hell, even Boomer and Carton are getting in on the action. All this, paired with the fact that Red Bull Arena is already all but sold out? It looks like people in this city are finally starting to take notice. If that's not enough to absolutely terrify you, then I don't know what is. Nothing would be more "that's so metro" than to lose grasp of the Supporter's Shield in front of 18,000 first timers. Still, all the buzz is intoxicating and will most certainly make for one of the most incredible atmospheres that has ever been generated inside the "Cathedral of Soccer."
Here's what we think:
None of you have slept well this week. I know this because I've been waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats myself. This regular season has been ( please forgive the cliche) a roller coaster of emotion. From sweeping the Houston Dynamo, stomping the Montreal Impact and taking a win out of Kansas City, to embarrassing losses against Chivas USA and the Columbus Crew, to unfortunate draws with a pathetic Toronto FC and an even more pathetic D.C. United, we've experienced every possibility in the spectrum of feeling. Regardless of all of that, The New York Red Bulls are in a position in which they've never before been. The South Ward is in a position in which it's never before been. Red Bull Arena is in a position in which it's never before been. And we're all in that same position together. If you're planning on coming to the match, please make sure to get their early. Please make sure to cheer all ninety. Please make sure that, no matter what the outcome, you give our boys in white the support that they always deserve. That, above all else, is what "so Metro" is really about.