The New York Red Bulls squeezed out an important 1-0 win to keep the team’s Supporters Shield hopes alive but nothing in the game presented anything that head coach Chris Armas didn’t expect. The Union are one of the more pesky teams in the league and have become a serious threat to any team in the playoffs which begin after next week.
“Always Difficult” Philly Presented No Surprises
“Like we thought, and knew, like always Philadelphia always a difficult opponent more so on the road and know we know that this is the best Philadelphia team they’ve put together,” said head coach Chris Armas after the game. “What a job he (Jim Curtin) and his staff have done. There is so much more now with some of their pressing and with the ball you can see they can unbalance you. They did it to us in the first half.”
Most of the game us just as the coach described, unbalanced. Both teams looked for control but found only fleeting opportunities. The press from both sides negated each other and created a sometimes tough game of soccer to watch. That didn’t stop the Red Bulls from doing what they’ve done all year, which is to find a way to pull out a victory despite the opposition. The Union are one of the more creative sides and certainly found ways to confound the Red Bulls until the team took advantage of a late gift in the second half.
The biggest challenges this week came from the left side of the field where Kemar Lawrence and Daniel Royer were unavailable for the starting line-up. Instead Alex Muyl, normally suited for the right side of the field, and Connor Lade were starters. Another example of the depth Red Bulls have shown all season. While not as dynamic on offense, the team was able to hold their own and wait for the right opportunity.
“Typically we’re pressing out of our left midfield spot,” said Armas. “In terms of missing Kemar and Danny, guys filled in admirably. The job Connor Lade put in, it’s not an easy match-up for anyone and he did a good job. Philadelphia is a team that relies a lot on unbalancing teams and I think they had three crosses on the day which I’m sure seems like we were able to take that away.”
Next week Red Bulls are presented with a do-or-die scenario. Win against Orlando and potentially win a third Supporters Shield in five years. Much of that depends on Atlanta United but the onus will remain on New York to continue their form.