What a start to the 2018 Calendar for the New York Red Bulls. They started very focused and ready to go when the CONCACAF Champions League started in late February as they got the draw against Olimpia in Costa Rica, the two goal clean sheet win at Red Bull Arema. Then a big two goal road clean sheet win in Mexico against Club Tijuana.
But now it’s time to turn their attention back domestically as their 2018 league season will begin at Red Bull Arena as the Portland Timbers will come over and become the first opponents of the season.
As the Season Opener will be this Saturday and then a very quick turnaround for the second leg against Club Tijuana in just four days. So that probably means squad rotation from Jesse Marsch as we expect to see Daniel Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips and a few others to take a break and get ready for the Quarterfinal second leg.
“Obviously having the USL team is definitely a benefit for us, when we went down to Costa Rica and played Olimpia we left some guys in Arizona to make sure they got minutes against good opponents to make sure they would be prepared and get ready for this.” said Jesse Marsch.
“We are evaluating where these guys are at physically after the Tuesday match, make sure that we put a team on the field that is physically prepared and ready to go and we are not risking injuries. I feel like the guys came out of the game in the good way and we are ready for the upcoming schedule.”
They will face a Portland Timbers side that has changed their manager and brought in former head coach of the New York Cosmos and of course former Metro legend Giovanni Savarese as this will be the second time these two managers will clash for ninety minutes.
The first time that Marsh and the Red Bulls faced a Savarese side was when these two met in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and the Red Bulls defeated the New York Cosmos by a final score of 4-1 and moved them to the Quarterfinals to face the Philadelphia Union.
“I’ve followed his teams when he was on the Cosmos He’s done a very good job there and he’s taken a lot of what he did there and brought it to the Timbers.” said Marsch, “He likes to spread the field and forces the opposition to be unbalanced. He wants his teams to be a good passing team.
He has a lot of talented players under his belt now, we’ve already started the preparation for this game and it should be a lot of fun. We think our guys will have a lot of fun to get out there and have some fun.”
Tim Parker showed very quickly in the 1st leg Quarterfinal that he was fit and ready to go in such an important match so early in the season, now that he’s back home and ready to go with his new side which is not too far away from his home on Long Island that he is starting a new chapter in his career.
“I’m really happy. I think it means a lot to me to come back home and come back to New York and play with this organization so it’s not easy to put into words really.” said Parker.
“I knew Red Bull was interested with me seeing it thru social media now a days, but once I heard about their interests for me I was leaning this way a little bit. Every Mom wants and hopes their sons come back and play closer to home.”
Let’s also remember that the long term resident in Connor Lade was teammates with Parker at St. John’s on the Men’s Soccer Team and if you saw the Red Bulls Match day video on You Tube down in Tijuana, both Parker and Lade gave each other a hug as Tim traveled from Vancouver after the trade was made for Felipe.
A injury update on Marc Rzatkowski as his leg injury in Tijuana wasn’t as serious as Marsch and his staff thought it was, so for this match he will be doubtful. But he could be probable for the 2nd leg against Club Tijuana. Probably might come off the bench if he’s not ready to start.
But the new league season is upon us and there are exciting times ahead for this Red Bulls side. Once this match is under their belt they will continue on to face Club Tijuana in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League adventure.