What an eventful day it was on Sunday, October 28th. The New York Red Bulls knew they had to win against Orlando City to force the issue on Atlanta United to take the Supporters Shield away from them.
But at the end of the ninety minutes at BMO Field as well as at Red Bull Arena, Atlanta found a way to fall apart and that allowed the Red Bulls to put their foot on the gas, to grab their third Shield in six seasons.
But let’s take a trip on the time machine and remember when this club was trying to achieve their first one back in 2013. Former head coach and club legend Mike Petke took over, after the Red Bulls decided not to bring back Hans Backe and got themselves in to position for a historic regular season run.
That run ended on the final day of the 2013 season as the Red Bulls were facing the Chicago Fire, for a chance at lifting up some hardware. After an early goal by Mike Magee put the visitors ahead, you knew at some point the Red Bulls were going to convert an equalizer.
Thierry Henry did that and put everyone at ease when they got to the halftime whistle. Once the second half began it was an onslaught, as Tim Cahill converted for the lead and then it was the beginning of the celebration. Lloyd Sam, Eric Alexander and then Johnny Steele put their stamps on this one and the party began.
Two years later a regime change happened as former Sporting director Ali Curtis and former head coach Jesse Marsch formed a partnership. They wanted to make this club into a place where developing young talent, becomes apart of the new culture with veterans who believed in the same philosophy.
Many believed that season the Red Bulls would not be that good and already wrote them off. But those players believed and decided to run the table. The final match of the 2015 season would end against the Fire, but this time it would be at Toyota Park, where they have never won a single match at that house of horrors.
After Bradley Wright-Phillips and a penalty converted by Sacha Kljestan put them ahead at halftime, the visiting supporters had that magic feeling once again. Even though the home side pulled one back, the belief would never disappear and the party was on for their second Shield.
And now you come to this current season where the impossible happened. The Red Bulls started with a strong CONCACAF Champions League run, that ended in the Semi-Finals against the eventual Winners in Chivas of Guadalajara, then a solid season with two sides that were battling for top of the east and the shield.
But a surprise came in the middle of this season as Jesse Marsch left for Leipzig, Germany to become apart of that coaching staff for Red Bull Leipzig, which meant a promotion would be given to Chris Armas and so far that move has paid dividends.
Since he took over on July 8th with a late one goal loss at New York City FC, Chris Armas has earned a 12-2-3 record for 39 points. That is an amazing accomplishment by a man who just took over, made a few tweaks and then he led this club to their third Shield in six seasons.
Maybe this statement by me could be a bit of a stretch, but if you think about it, this is possibly a little dynasty this club has finally started to achieve. Granted that they haven’t lifted a cup in MLS, the US Open Cup or the Champions League, but there is success now when there wasn’t much to begin with.
But that success can get better once they can go all the way, host the final and then lift that one big piece of hardware that has eluded them, since they took their first shot at it back in 2008 when Juan Carlos Osorio put them on that run.
But right now the Red Bull await their first opponent in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and it could either be the Columbus Crew or their most hated rivals in D.C. United. Then the fun truly begins on Sunday, November 4th for their first leg match on the road.