A 1-0 win against the Chicago Fire was by no means the most convincing by the New York Red Bulls. Led by the 56th minute goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips, the Red Bulls scrapped by a tattered Fire team that simply did not have their game together.
Chris Armas put it best in the post game locker room talk, saying the team was “comfortable being uncomfortable”. They fought hard and, although it was not the prettiest victory, they still got the job done.
This match alone should show just how much belief Armas has in his players. He knows they can play better, but praising them for a sloppy win is just what this team needs sometimes.
It will not always be free flowing, attractive, smash mouth football. Sometimes the team will need to get gritty, and this win against the Fire showed just that.
The defense, along with Tyler Adams and Sean Davis, were particularly strong in a time when the offense struggled to get going. A match defining save by Luis Robles also saved the Red Bulls two points, only further proving his role as captain.
Luckily for the Red Bulls, they got a week off to rest up and travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps. Unfortunately for the team, this will be their last week long break until September.
The Red Bulls will cram five matches into the next two weeks of the season. With a mix of home and away matches, the teams end of August form will be their make or break moment on their journey to the Supporters Shield.
First, though, they must focus on the task at hand. The Vancouver Whitecaps are nothing to be messed with at home, losing just two matches this whole season at BC Place.
The Whitecaps have been lead by teenage sensation Alphonso Davies in the midfield. The Canadian, who is set to join German giants Bayern Munich in January, has been nothing short of spectacular for his club.
With five goals and eight assists to his name, Davies is showing the world why Bayern came calling. His technical dribbling and fluidity on the ball make him a terror for the opposition. Davies can run the field single handedly, flowing his team from defense to attack in seconds.
Davies did pick up an injury a week ago, ruling him out of a match against the Portland Timbers. He has since recovered, playing just over 50 minutes of action against Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship.
Tyler Adams will have his hands full with the 17 year old. Davies will likely start for the Whitecaps and look to influence the game quickly from the start.
The Red Bulls also need to deal with forward Kei Kamara. The MLS veteran is still bagging goals, scoring 10 times for the Whitecaps this season. His lone striker play up top has been vital to this teams success, so Aaron Long and Tim Parker need to be aware of his abilities.
Offensively, the Whitecaps are quite strong. Their defense, however, is on the other end of the spectrum completely. They have allowed third most goals this season in all of MLS, giving up 47 goals in 24 matches.
Just two of the team’s nine wins have come in clean sheet victories. This should be a huge talking point for Arams heading into this match, as the Red Bulls are more than capable of scoring multiple goals.
Being behind to the Whitecaps at any point in the match should not alarm the Red Bulls. Armas needs to convey to his team that staying focused and driven towards goal will eventually result in goals.
Going back to the end of the Fire match, Armas preached about the road form of the team this season. This match against Vancouver is just another stop on their road to the top.
Playing at BC Place is never easy. The Red Bulls do not have the best recent history in the building, but their more meaningful recent away form is much more important. A draw would be a strong result, but Armas and his crew are more than capable of securing all three.