We are now in the month of October and the time for pleasentries are over. It’s time to see what the Red Bulls are made of as they finish up the regular season to clinch that final spot for the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
That next opponent for them is the tricky and tough Vancouver Whitecaps as they have found ways to befuddle and to annoy the Red Bulls as this club has had the better of the play and it continued earlier this season during the CONCACAF Champions League as the Whitecaps got the draw in the first leg and a two goal win in the second.
“I think the statstics tells the whole story, they are a team that is very good team in transition. They like to get the ball wide in transition, not necessarily the build up plays are not huge for them.” said Connor Lade, “They want to get behind you, they want to get a lot of crosses and want to get out on the run against you.
We know that this is what we need to do to shut them down and deny service, we need to make sure that we don’t allow them to get second balls as well, we can’t switch off during the game.”
Since the Whitecaps came to MLS in 2011 from the US Soccer 2nd Division League, they have had their way with the Red Bulls from the get go. In league play the Red Bulls have one win, against the western Canadian side stemming from last year.
They started with three straight draws till the Whitecaps gave the club three straight loses till the 2016 season, then it became one win in nine games in all competitions as the Red Bulls fell to the Whitecaps in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
“I didn’t know the numbers were that dire. Listen they are that organized, they are committed to the way they play. If you are a possession based team they lull you to sleep as they make you think you have control of the match when actually it’s that type of game they like.” said Jesse Marsch, “We have to be very aware that this is a dangerous type of game tactically, make sure that we don’t feed into their strengths.
You give them credit for the commitment that they have as a team and as an organization they have as a team and now it’s our job is to see if we can score against them. They score at will and we need to be able stop them.”
The man who has been the main culprit in stopping the Red Bulls these last few seasons is of course goalkeeper David Ousted who has been the source of the problems for Bradley Wright-Phillips and the club since he has a knack for stopping this side.
“He’s a great keeper, he’s one of the top keepers in our league.” said Lade, “He’s very athletic and can pull incredible saves out of his head, so we know that we’ve got to do our best to put as many shots on goal as much as we can and especially we want to show our fans that we are one of the elite teams going forward in this league.”
Not saying that the Whitecaps don’t have talented players but as everyone knows, Fredy Montero since returning to MLS has been one of the big danger men on this roster for Carl Robinson. He has scored thirteen goals two from the spot, so stopping him is a priority.
“He’s got a track record in the league, he is such a great goal scorer.” said Lade, “We know that we have to be aware of him at all times, we can’t let him turn and get shots because he’s good from all around the field.
We know that he is going to be very dangerous for them and a big part of their offense and shutting him down is going to be key and getting service from the flanks to shut that down is going to be key as well.”
Kemar Lawrence who was called onto the Jamaican National Team for a friendly, has declined the call up and decided to stay with the club, so they will be missing three players in Derick Etienne Jr for Haiti and both Fidel Escobar & Michael Murillo for Panama.
The league hasn’t ruled yet on the situation in the starting eleven snafu by FC Dallas against Orlando City last weekend, but hopefully a decision will come soon. There needs to be clarity on the situation to see if the Red Bulls officially clinch a playoff spot.”
But now is the time for the Red Bulls to get that elusive home win against this Whitecaps side that has found a way to be that thorn in the side and try to clinch that final playoff spot in the east and try to reach the Wild Card round and start either on the road or if they can finish off the regular season in a magical way maybe host the match.