Holding a lead at halftime is not enough, the New York Red Bulls need to execute and be more competitive, their manager said.
Jesse Marsch spoke with reporters after training on Jun. 10, and said that the team needs to "not [give] away so many easy chances," like they did against Houston.
"We need to be sharper and smarter and better," Marsch told reporters
"We do think [holding the] lead is important. But, it has been two difficult environments that we've gone into, and so it's hard to pinpoint exactly where it's at."
Marsch said that he doesn't believe that the system the Red Bulls play is solely responsible for the team's current three-game losing streak, rather "it's a lot of little things... and we're a little bit unlucky not to come away with something," in two of the three matches.
After beating New York City FC on May 10, the Red Bulls have earned only 1 point in their last four matches, and have dropped to fifth in the Eastern Conference.
"We just need to take things one day at a time here and get ourselves back on track," Marsch said about what needs to be done during the coming bye week.
"It's a combination of a lot of elements. Making sure that we're sharper, that we're getting ourselves healthy, and [maintaining] a strong mentality in terms of who we are.
"It is a concerted effort, but that's something that we have emphasized from day one. We don't want to get too down on any particular thing. It's just now maintaining a steadiness and now knowing that we can do a little bit better, and that's what the job is."
The Red Bulls current downswing coincides with a busy international period for the club, especially for defensemen. Kemar Lawrence will be participating in the Copa America, and possibly the Gold Cup for Jamaica; Karl Ouimette will be on World Cup Qualifying and possibly Gold Cup duty for Canada; Roy Miller will most likely represent Costa Rica in the Gold Cup; Andrew Jean-Baptiste has been named to the provisional roster for Haiti for the Gold Cup. In addition, Matt Miazga is in New Zealand until the United States U-20 National Team is eliminated from the U-20 World Cup. The U.S.A's next match is June 14 against Serbia.
Marsch expects defenseman Ronald Zubar, who has been out since the opening match on Mar. 8, to be back for the Jun. 20 against Vancouver along with Karl Ouimette. Last week, Marsch said he was "hoping" for the Open Cup match against Atlanta (Jun. 16) to be the target for Zubar's return.
Marsch's priorities in training are clear: "I do think we need to be more competitive and gain an edge a little bit more. The Houston game, specifically first half, we felt that we came in second too much."