As the New York Red Bulls are down in the Dominican Republic, getting ready to face their opponent in the first leg of their Round of 16 match in the 2019 Edition of the CONCACAF Champions League, you know that the Red Bulls will never take their opposition lightly.
But with that being said, you still have to think there could be a situation that the Red Bulls who had a great run in the last edition that ended in the Semi-Finals, as they lost to the eventual champions in Chivas of Guadalajara.
But with that being said there should be a warning given to Head Coach Chris Armas, as he was watching the first three matches of this current edition of the Champions League. It’s a simple request that I think he will heed, when you tell him to never take your opponents lightly.
What we saw from the opening match as Toronto FC took on Panama’s Club Atletico Independiente down in Panama, was nothing short of a complete disaster, that the Canadian Champion representing MLS became FC Shambles.
A ninth minute tally to begin the first half, with a terrible penalty that was taken by Terrence Boyd, who skies it over the crossbar and probably landed in the Panama Canal by now, was a tough pill to swallow.
Then the three goal second half barrage that came out of nowhere as Toronto FC walked off the field, embarrassed, humiliated and looking at themselves in the mirror to wonder, how in the heck did they allow this situation to get bad.
As Club Atletico Pantoja is getting ready to ratchet up the emotions from their home supporters, the Red Bulls need to know from the start of this first leg, they can’t fall behind quickly, they can’t assume this is an easy victory.
Pantoja is going to try and out work the Red Bulls, out play and find ways to get into their heads, to get them off their game very badly. We all know the weather is nice and comfortable this time of year, but that has to be a short time to enjoy, because they are down in the Dominican Republic on business.
What Club Atletico Independiente did to Toronto FC was unheard of from a Panamanian side, as they took care of business and found ways to embarrass the one time MLS Cup Champions of 2017. When Arabe Unido came into the Champions League, all they did was flop around and played the gamesmanship way to much, but that goal scoring success was never there.
But Toronto FC now found out what happens when a debutant in the CONCACAF Champions League, comes to play and takes you down very hard by putting four goals past Alex Bono.
Now we all know that the Red Bulls will be coming down as professionals, as they won’t take this opponent for granted. Yet they must be fully aware that Pantoja want their scalp very badly and to follow suit on what Club Atletico Independiente did.
All you can do is hope and pray that the message has been sent and the alarm was sounded as the Red Bulls will try to get a result in the first leg, then take it home in the second leg next Wednesday at Red Bull Arena.