For the first time in a long time, the New York Red Bulls will play a match during the FIFA International Break. The U.S.A. and other National Teams will be involved with friendly matches, World Cup Qualifying, or, in Haiti’s case, a two-legged playoff against Nicaragua for that final CONCACAF Gold Cup spot.
The club will be missing Sacha Kljestan, Michael Murillo, and Derrick Etienne Jr., as they take on Real Salt Lake, who will be missing their head coach, Jeff Cassar, who recently became the earliest firing in an MLS season.
“If I was on that team then I wanted to impress the new manager, we expect the best version of Salt Lake which we always do.” said Wright-Phillips, “We will be expecting a strong performance from them and they will be dangerous.”
The timing of this decision was very strange for RSL as one would question why he was not fired before the season started if management was that displeased with his prior performance.
In Cassar’s place will be Darryl Shore, taking over as the interim head coach of RSL. He is the former head coach of the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers and knows his way along the leagues of U.S. Soccer.
From a player's perspective, Real Salt Lake can still be dangerous, no matter the circumstances. “A change in the coach they change their approach. Players need to show the new coach what they are about.“ said Felipe, “For us, we need to play better and because we are home, we will be sharp on the day and not worry about them.”
Salt Lake is led in attack by forward, Yura Movsisyan. Movsisyan has been one of the most dangerous strikers in the league since returning in 2016. He is adept at finding a way to be sneak by and slip through opposing defenses, before placing the ball in the back of the net.
“When you have the quality of a player like Movsisyan, you have to be consistently aware, because he can change a game in five seconds.” said Luis Robles, “He has such quality to his game he can be checked out for 89 minutes and in one minute he can punish us and win the game.”
“Talking about the last game we were in Salt Lake last season, he wasn’t too involved in the game and then all of a sudden, boom he gets that goal and gets them back in the game and they win the game. Maybe he was involved in the early parts of the game and then he drifts away, but he gets back in and boom he scores.”
Jesse Marsch was not at training today as he is taking his coaching courses, so assistant coach Chris Armas took over the training session, as he did yesterday as well. So far the players have raved about how Armas ran the sessions and they believe that Marsch has some competition when he gets back this Saturday.
Connor Lade, who is making his way back from a long-term injury, did train with the first team. Gonzalo Veron, who was injured at the very start of the season, did not train but did work in the gym.
At the end of the day, this is a very important match for the New York Red Bulls, who will get ready for a side that is in disarray but remains dangerous and unpredictable. The team will look to continue collecting points early, hopefully bouncing after the loss at Seattle.