As the Red Bulls are getting ready for another big cross country trip that will entail a visit to Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, this trip is going to be something special to two different players as one will visit a city he left and the other will welcome a club he called family.
As we all know the New York Red Bulls made a big trade to shore up their backline in getting the Hicksville, Long Island center back Tim Parker and then trading away their hard fought defensive Brazilian midfielder in Felipe to the Whitecaps.
“I’m excited to return to Vancouver, it’s the place where I started my career. It gave me the opportunity to play professional soccer. We won the Canadian Championship there when It was a great moment for me as that was the first trophy I won as a professional.” said Tim Parker.
“Carl Robinson meant a lot to me as a head coach. He gave me a lot of confidence, he trusted me and challenge me a lot so for him to give me all those opportunities and as our relationship grew for all the years I was there, it was a special time for me.”
The Red Bulls know that this Whitecaps team is going to be very strong at home as BC Place has been a house of horrors for those sides that are usual visitors including those Pacific Northwest matchups against the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders.
But this season the Red Bulls road record has looked solid and so far they have been road grinders for the last several matches away from Red Bull Arena. While Atlanta United has shown to be better on the road with a 7-2-2 record for 23 points, the Red Bulls have flourished with a solid road total as well going 6-4-1 record for 19 points.
“I think our defense is the key. It’s great having those guys in the back the entire season putting out a lot of fires. They are really compact and tough to play against, not just the defenders but as a team we are more compact than before.” Said Daniel Royer.
“When we have a good day of pressing it’s really hard to play thru us and it’s pretty hard for the other side to find solutions. We’re just good at the moment and we know that the other side can create chances and score so we keep close results on the road.”
But what is it about the Whitecaps that makes them such a solid team and does a great job at home to be a hard fought team and trying to break them down. “Vancouver is a good team, they’re especially good at home and they’ve always given us problems.” said Chris Armas.
“Typically known stingy defensively, comfortable in a deeper block defensively and then that sets up for a counterattack, which they’re number one in the league in counterattacks and transitions, so it’s not just, I mean it is by design but they can sit back, be organized, disciplined, and catch you going the other way.”
But the players that they have to be extra careful against when they take shots on frame are Kei Kamara and of course the young attacking Canadian who is Bayern Munich Bound is Alphonso Davies.
These two are the toughest attackers the Western Conference has ever known and while the Whitecaps are in seventh place and behind the playoff line by two points against Real Salt Lake, head coach Carl Robinson knows his side will continue to make that climb in the Western Conference.
So it’ time to get ready for another huge road test as the Red Bulls make the long distance road trip across the continent and get into the Canadian Pacific as they face the Vancouver Whitecaps and try to grind another three points.