The opening round of the Concacaf Champions League went the New York Red Bulls way to the tune of a 5-0 aggregate tally on Wednesday night. The Red Bulls won 3-0 with goals from Sean Davis, Daniel Royer and Andreas Ivan. Even before the 8 o’clock slate of games started, the next opponent up for New York was a given. Santos Laguna went into Wednesday with a 6-2 aggregate lead and ended it with a 11-2 aggregate victory over Marathón. The Red Bulls will now host Santos Laguna on Tuesday March 5th @8pm at Red Bull Arena.
With an opponent up ahead that is clearly in-form, the Red Bulls will rely on their bench to rotate with the start of MLS play on Saturday. The Red Bulls will open their campaign with a trip to Columbus to face the new-look Crew.
With much experience with early fixture congestion, Chris Armas and New York are ready for the challenge, “we have a deep roster and we believe in it, and we have to be calculated in how we utilize it and especially on short rest. So we will rotate some players on the weekend and we know that we can trust the guys”.
A big week ahead for Kyle Duncan
This time last year the Red Bulls trampled Portland Timbers 4-0 to open MLS play despite the early CCL schedule. Chris Armas will likely trot out some younger players and substitutes in Columbus, yet Michael Murillo could get a run too. Murillo picked up another yellow card after being booked in Santo Domingo, DR. Chris Armas reaffirmed this post-game, “I mean the yellow card changes things a bit because if Murillo can’t play Tuesday, he can play more on Saturday”.
With that said, Kyle Duncan will likely get the start next Tuesday against Santos Laguna. When asked about Duncan post-game, Armas responded, “He has different qualities, he can defend one v one in a certain way, his engine to get up and down, he’s good in the air and he tactically understands, so it was great and part of the plan even to see him get some minutes tonight as we approach Tuesday and even on the weekend”.
Andreas Ivan notches first RBNY goal
The Romanian winger scored his first Red Bulls goal after coming on as a late substitute for Bradley Wright-Phillips. Andreas Ivan cooly faked a shot, switching feet to curl the ball into the side netting. It’s a goal that could prove important for Ivan and the club heading into this fixture congestion. Post-game Armas spoke on squad rotation saying, “Part of it’s getting other guys on the field and getting their legs going and confidence going. ”
Ivan could potentially see more minutes on Saturday, a great shot for him to make his mark after a summer transfer window signing. Ivan was elated with the result and goal after the match, “It feels great. First goal and all the emotions and my teammates come and celebrate. It was a great moment”.
Next Tuesday will be another big test for New York against Liga MX opposition. In the post-game huddle, Armas reiterated the need to stay disciplined while ratcheting up their defensive tenacity.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography