Chris Armas got his first win as head coach of the New York Red Bulls thanks to Marc Rzatkowski. The German midfielder came on in the 60th minute to score two fantastic goals for his team, pushing the Red Bulls past Sporting KC 3-2.
The win fixed a few key issues that plagued Armas’ debut match against NYCFC. The first of those issues was a lack of quality in the first half.
A fourth minute goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips was the perfect way to solve that problem. BWP is now sitting on 98 career goals for the club, inching ever closer to that coveted century mark.
Unfortunately, the drop off after the goal was tough to watch, and the Red Bulls held the lead for just a few minutes before Sporting KC equalized.
This is something Armas needs to address as the team gets ready to face the New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena. Keeping their foot on the pedal after their early goal was a staple of Jesse Marsch’s play style, and it is worth tweaking to fit into Armas’ gameplan.
A similar situation took place the last time the Revolution and Red Bulls faced off. An early goal by Wright-Phillips was just what the team ordered, but a lack of opportunities and possession from then on really hurt the team.
New England smothered the Red Bulls and used a similar pressing style against them. This was an overwhelming tactic and it proved to be too much for the Red Bulls on the day.
The most dangerous player for the Revolution during their 2-1 win over the Red Bulls was Diego Fagundez, and his recent form suggests he will continue to terrorize the opposition.
Fagundez has scored or assisted in five of his last seven appearances, leading the team in the number 10 role. His play with and without the ball keep the team ticking on the press and offensively, and he will be a key figure for Brad Friedel’s team.
The Revolution have hit a rough patch in their season, losing their last two matches and picking up just one victory since June 5th.
This dip in form has mainly come down to their lack of defensive dominance, which is good news for a free scoring Red Bulls team. Friedel focuses mostly on his high pressure system and grabbing a lead early.
Six of the seven wins for New England this year have seen them score the first goal. The only time they did not score the first goal and still won was the previously mentioned match against the Red Bulls.
That being said, Armas needs to push for that patented early Red Bulls goal to put pressure on the Revolution. Being down a goal will force New England to press harder and further up the pitch, opening up space for the Red Bulls attackers.
Unlike last time in Gillette Stadium, the Red Bulls need to be quicker and more decisive with their passes when they are pressed by New England. The press is never easy to break down, but it only takes once chance for this team to put a chance away.
One key player that will help the Red Bulls break the press is Alex Muyl. He may not be the flashiest player or the best finisher on the team, but he is perfect for this match.
Muyl has found himself starting the last three matches for the team after struggling to find playing time this season. His willingness to drop deep and receive the ball in his own defensive third will make him a great outlet for the backline.
The press that the Revolution put on will make it hard to play possession out of the back, but having players like Muyl who sacrifice their attacking duties for the greater good of possessing the ball will be vital.
A victory at home should be the only result the Red Bulls think about. A hiccup at Yankee Stadium will be just that if the team can push on for another win at Red Bull Arena.
The Supporters Shield is still very much palpable, and these are just the types of matches the team needs to win to achieve that goal.