The New York Red Bulls knew that last Friday's game at D.C. United was a terrible and ugly performance. They knew everything went wrong from the opening whistle to the closing whistle. There are times when a team gives the best it has and comes up short, but no Red Bull left DC feeling they had offered their best.
"What we take from this is that it wasn't nearly good enough and we were all disappointed and we need to learn from that and never allow that to happen again." said Jesse Marsch, "We are having a little bit of a hard time identifying on what that was, but to be a real team in very tough games you have to be ready to go and from the start to put your heart on your sleeve and go after it."
The Red Bulls are on a quick turnaround, hosting the Chicago Fire in mid-week. The Fire is still working out issues that have affected the club for the past three years or so, but the side has traditionally troubled RBNY, whenever and wherever the teams face each other. This will be the first time the Red Bulls face Chicago's new head coach Veljko Paunovic, who led Serbia to a U-20 World Cup win last year down in New Zealand.
Marsch is mindful of the challenge ahead:
"I think Paunovic has built in a lot of tactical flexibility, sometimes they play if you want to call it five or three in the back. Sometimes four, sometimes two up top, or three, or one and they become a hard team to prepare for because, you're not sure tactically you know what you're going to look at."
"So we tried some different things to prepare for Wednesday, especially with David Accam on the field and some of their attacking players are setting up challenges against us, so we need to be aware and very alert and always desperate and dangerous."
Ronald Zubar suffered a slight muscle issue prior to facing DC United and couldn't play. However, he could be available on Wednesday. If not, Gideon Baah has been getting up to speed, and he may be able to slip in for the Red Bulls and partner with Aurelien Collin.
Sacha Kljestan has already moved beyond the last match and is looking forward to the next one.The attacking midfielder is ready to let the past be in the past:
"It's always great to play so quickly after a bad loss. Go home and play in front of our fans and get a good result that will wipe away that loss down in DC," said Kljestan, "It's a bit crazy on how things are going in the Eastern Conference, but if we can play better, with two quick games in-conference and earn six points that is a huge turn around."
The Red Bulls know what is in store for them: an opponent every bit as eager to replace recent frustration with celebration.
Lastly, on a lighter note, former Red Bulls and Costa Rica leftback, Roy Miller, was back visiting former teammates at the training facility today.