The New York Red Bulls have done very well for themselves during this stretch going five unbeaten since the road game at the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 28th. Scoring twelve goals and conceding four goals before taking a scoreless draw at home against the Philadelphia Union.
But now they have a bit of a bigger challenge ahead of them as they will face a new and improved New England Revolution side that seems to be clicking and doing well at home at Gillette Stadium. What has been the secret that new head coach Brad Friedel unlocked?
“I think they are a little bit of a mirror image of us. They look to press, they look to play in the other team’s end, they look to force mistakes and force turnovers and then capitalize on them. They’ve done a very good job of it.” said Jesse Marsch, “I think that Brad Friedel has come in and implemented a system and they’ve been very successful with it. That combined with the player personnel that they have, which fits the way they want to play, means that they are doing a good job and it is a tough team to play against.
You play in Boston on the turf on a smaller field and it means that you have a lot of combative moments. So we will be ready for that. It’s one of the things we do and one of the things we pride ourselves on. We’ll make sure that tactically we have a game plan to minimize the things that they try to achieve, and try to maximize what we think we can achieve, and go up there and make sure that mentally we’re up for a real battle, which will be fun.”
Every time the Red Bulls and the Revolution meet up It’s always a competitive match no matter where in the Eastern Conference Table they are. But now being one point just over the playoff line and ahead of the Philadelphia Union the Revolution seem to be a bigger threat than ever before.
“Every time we play against them it is a battle. I think that is the one team that we prepare for battle wise during the week because that team it is not really about football, it is about winning the battle and three points come after.” Said Bradley Wright-Phillips.
“I think a lot of the games especially Champions League run is going to prepare us for games like this away where it is tough on turf and hostile crowds. We are kind of used to it right now but it does not make it any easier, we have not played them this season but I remember playing them in the preseason and they were hard to play and they had a different style also. They battle but they also play some good football and it is going to be a tough one.”
Since the season started Diego Fagundez has been the catalyst for playing well in Brad Friedel’s system and of course sending away Lee Nguyen to LAFC has shown not only the confidence from Friedel, but allowing Fagundez to have the freedom with the ball in midfield.
“We know how good our defenders are and we played against Fagundez a couple of times. Just trying to keep him at bay and do whatever is necessary to stop him.” said Derrick Etienne Jr. “At the end of the day we are more worried about the way we play and I think that’s what so good about us. We have the same mentality each and every game we play.”
With Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar officially with the Panamanian National Team for the FIFA World Cup this summer, that means someone needs to step in and take his place for the next couple of weeks, or possibly a month. That means Connor Lade will get the call.
But the big question on the minds of those who want to know is when will the Captain of the Red Bulls Luis Robles make his return to play in goal for the club. While it sounds like he is getting very close to return, Jesse Marsch informed the media at training it could be this week.
“Luis is doing very well. We have a tough decision to make. He’s gonna play within the next week. Is it going to be New England, the Open Cup or in Columbus, but he will play in one of these three games and he will be ready.” said Marsch.
So the Red Bulls will once again head over to a stadium where they have historically had a lot of issues, but once again we shall see if the Red Bulls can find a way to sneak out of Gillette Stadium with any form of points to advance their cause.