So after a solid opening round performance against Club Atletico Pantoja by converting five times in both legs, the New York Red Bulls advanced to the Quarterfinals, as they are now preparing to take on one of the top sides in all of Liga MX in Santos Laguna.
The club from Torreon, Mexico arrives to face the Red Bulls after they handedly thrashed Honduran side Club Deportivo Marathon eleven goals to two on aggregate. Six goals at Marathon, then another five back at the Estadio Corona without conceding any.
A big time side that has reached the CONCACAF Champions League finals in two consecutive seasons, but losing to Monterrey with Victor Vucetich managing that side in the 2012 & 2013. They are considered as one of the favorites coming into this tournament, as they have shown to be a hard opponent to face.
“We’re looking forward to antoher match. We love good tests and this will be another one, over the course of two legs.” said Chris Armas “We’re looking forward seeing if how our best stuff matches up to Santos Laguna. We think we have a good idea about their team and how they play and some of their key players.
“They have a lot of weapons on their team and we’ve seen them in a 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, they enjoy two forwards and that’s always tricky on how those players (Julio) Furch and (Javier) Correa on how they move up the field.
(Ayrton) Preciado and (Brian) Lozano, whoever they will go with the wide midfielders, are cleaver, fast and are different along the wide spots, but their qualities are the same. They can get by you, are quick, and very technical. which sets up for wider plays and we feel that sets up for one of their strengths.”
Last year in the Semi-Finals it felt like Guadalajara tried to bully the Red Bulls in the first leg, once they got their goal, they basically bunkered to make sure the home side in the second leg, never got a chance to convert to either force penalties or win the match at Red Bull Arena.
What we could see is a Santos Laguna side is a full onslaught attacking down all lanes on the pitch, as they will take the Red Bulls seriously. But the big issue that many believe can be an advantage is the terrible cold temperatures that will be arriving this Tuesday evening where it will drop to twenty degrees.
“I don’t see any advantage until we create the advantage, for me they had to travel and played some guys the other night.” said Armas “If you start talking that way, or thinking that way, the advantage goes to them.
“In our minds they are sharp, they are in midseason form, their fitness is in midseason form. Their prepared, their talented, their irginized, they are clear in what they are do and that’s why they are in this competition like us, we won’t make that mistake at all.”
Daniel Royer is expecting a solid team to come over and give the boys a game. One thing for sure about these Red Bull players is that they know what type of fight they are in for, as well as the type of explosiveness they can expect from Santos Laguna.
“I think we are expecting a really good team. We watched some footage and there is real quality in this team.” said Royer “Especially offensively they are dangerous with smart and speedy wingers, also the strikers are very dangerous.
“Really dangerous up top and very competitive as well, so that’s what we are going to expect. We are going to have step up a little compared to the Dominican Republic team, but I think it’s going to be a great match up and it’s going to be cold, so it should be a good team.”
This is going to be a very tough opponent the Red Bulls will be facing, and the positive result that we should be seeing from the boys in red, is a two goal clean sheet. Because one goal won’t be enough when they make the trip down to Mexico in the away leg.
They must keep Santos Laguna off the scoresheet and they must score more than a single goal, to take the advantage on aggregate, because once they get to the Estadio Corona, then they can think about converting away goals. But let’s get through the opening ninety minutes first.