When your B-team losses 4-3 away to an out of form conference opponent, it usually does not cause much of a stir. When that same B-team gets screwed out of a few vital calls, goes a man down due to injury, and losses to a deflection goal in the 86th minutes, though, it tends to sit a little differently. The New York Red Bulls will need to put that loss behind them as they shift focus to the CONCACAF Champions League as the team travels to Mexico to face Guadalajara.
The Red Bulls’ last Champions League match ended in jubilation as they put three goals past a tough Tijuana side. Now, they need to keep their focus as they take on Guadalajara, who have been immense at home during the Champions League.
Guadalajara beat both Cibao and the Seattle Sounders to get to this point in the tournament, winning 5-0 and 3-0 at home against both opponents respectively. This lopsided 8-0 aggregate they have at their home stadium of Estadio Akron is not something to take lightly, and the Red Bulls will need to play hard to come away with even a single away goal.
This is much different than the previous away matches in the Champions League for Jesse Marsch’s side, who have traveled well this tournament. A 1-1 draw and 2-0 victory further proves that the team has changed since last season, showing that they can grind out tough results away from the comfort of Red Bull Arena.
If Guadalajara’s Liga MX form is anything to go by, then this task just got even tougher for the Red Bulls. The Mexican side has not lost since February 10th, drawing five and winning two in that time. The one bright spot is that Guadalajara has only scored eight goals in those seven unbeaten matches, so a strong Red Bulls defense will tilt the scale back in favor of the away team.
Having Tyler Adams back in the lineup will also give the Red Bulls a huge boost, as the midfield against Orlando City was an area that could have used improvement. Tim Parker and Daniel Royer should also start against Guadalajara, as both did not see any minutes in Orlando over the weekend. Both players will add very different but necessary elements to the team and will be a welcome sight to all Red Bulls fans.
An away goal for the Red Bulls will be huge in this fixture, and settling for a 1-1 draw would be a fantastic result to take back to Red Bull Arena in a weeks time. Guadalajara does have a few danger players that Luis Robles and the backline need to keep an eye on, with goals coming from all over the pitch.
Midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro is heading into this match full of confidence as he scored both goals in Guadalajara’s 2-1 victory in Liga MX. They were his first two goals of the season in league play, but they came at a crucial time for his team. Alan Pulido, the leading goal scorer for the team, is the ever present danger for Guadalajara. Capable of beating the backline and finishing his chances, Pulido will need to be monitored closely if the Red Bulls want to survive.
The Red Bulls are yet to suffer defeat in this competition, but it is not hard to think that this match could end up being the end of that run. The club thankfully does not have an MLS match to worry about this weekend, so they will be able to leave it all on the field in Mexico. Despite that, though, there seems to be an eerie feeling surrounding the team after their defeat in Orlando.
Marsch will harp on putting that game behind them and drill his team to focus on the task at hand, as all good coaches do, but the frustration was clear after the game. This is a huge moment for the Red Bulls, both in terms of this season and in the clubs history, so complete focus will be needed to come away with any sort of positive result. Guadalajara is not an easy opponent by any stretch, but on their day, the Red Bulls can be unstoppable. Let’s just hope that day happens to take place in Mexico.