For the second time in roughly two months, but first in league action and first at Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls will host the New England Revolution. The man whom the Red Bulls are very familiar with, Bruce Arena, is responsible for New England’s recent good fortune.
Since taking over as Head Coach and General Manager for Brad Friedel and Mike Burns on May 14, the Revolution have looked more organized, taken better chances and played with a purpose, climbing up the Eastern Conference table to sixth place, three behind the Red Bulls.
“We all know Bruce enough that, he gets a lot out of people and there’s a certain confidence in the team,” Chris Armas said during training at Red Bull Arena on Friday. “And they’ve gotten some good results, they’ve gotten a lot of results.
“I would say that is the main thing. Right now, the team is looking to play with a lot of confidence. They’re athletic, they’ve relied on some athletic pieces, they’re a good team and Bruce and his staff have gotten a lot out of them.”
Since Arena took over the club, the New England Revolution in 13 matches have a record of 7-1-5 with 26 goals scored and only 14 allowed, which is an incredible turnaround.
The one player who has always brought pain to New York, Teal Bunbury, has thwarted the Red Bulls in regular season, playoffs and most recently their US Open Cup tilt at MSU Soccer Park.
In that fourth round match-up, Bunbury equalized by nutmegging Amro Tarek and beating Ryan Meara to force extra time. Then, in the second half of extra time, he intercepted a pass from Connor Lade and chipped past the outstretched arms of Meara, eliminating the Red Bulls.
“He has a knack for scoring goals,” Tim Parker said. “He’s done that season after season so, just keeping tabs on him, especially near the box, is going to be important for us. And they have the new signing [Gustavo Bou], so it’s going to be important for us to keep tabs on that as well.”
With the Revolution now a dangerous side to account for, only a victory will allow the Red Bulls to feel safe heading into a busy run of games at the end of the month.