The last time the New York Red Bulls faced the New England Revolution was at Gillette Stadium as they pulled off a one-goal draw against a Bruce Arena-less team, as he served a suspension from the Disney tournament. But tonight the Red Bulls will host the Massachusetts club with the former New York boss Arena in a vital match with three points on the line.
“There’s a lot on the table, I don’t think about a month ago, or six to seven weeks ago, people never thought we would be in this position” says interim head coach Bradley Carnell. “A lot of people might have thought we wouldn’t have a fighting chance to get where we are now. We have given ourselves a platform and given ourselves a chance.”
“Now we have to maintain that to stay above the line and for sure we need to get good results for ourselves as we know the schedule, Now we have assured the right to play at home, we have two games at home and a match in the Bronx.”
“For us we are energized and motivated, we want to prove a point that we can show this fighting spirit in the last few games with the toughest schedule we’ve been dubbed as. I’m proud of the team, but we haven’t reached the finish line yet. We have to do the business.”
The Red Bulls will face a Revolution side that has plenty of talented players in midfield as the return of Lee Nguyen bolsters the starting eleven. After leaving the club and spent stints with LAFC & Inter Miami, Nguyen returned last month from Miami and hasn’t looked out of place. Adding his talents to a club whose spirit has been turned around since the arrival of Bruce Arena last summer goes to show that he can still change a match at the turn of a coin.
“There’s an extra ballplayer. (Diego) Fagundez, (Tommy) McNamara, (Scott) Caldwell, All these guys in the midfield are very technical and they are very dangerous. We need to make sure we pressure them because they can dictate the pace of the game” said Carnell. “They can definitely feed (Teal) Bunbury, (Adam) Buksa on the run and in behind. We have to make sure we stay energetic and strong to break them down.”
For the Red Bulls defense, they know it’s going to be another battle with the attack from the Revolution. Aaron Long knows it’s going to be a long game if the Revs can take advantage of holes in the backline.
“It does make it a little bit tougher, they are already a creative team. They are a very good team on the attack and the counter.” said Long, “When you add Lee Nguyen back into that mix it going to be a little bit more complicated, but we have played against good teams before and attacking players before. It’s nothing new but it’s something we got to keep an eye on.”
Arena’s team can clog up the attacking lanes and force the opposition to do something against their game plans, which New York midfielder Florian Valot noted.
“What the Revolution are very good at is keeping compact and playing the ball down the middle, they try to make you go around them. We have to move the ball fast and create the gaps to get those shots on frame as fast as possible.”
So once again it will be a big three points on the line, as the Red Bulls will try to put themselves into better position in the playoffs and avoid the play-in games. But knowing Bruce Arena’s teams, they will be very difficult to face even in your own building.