The mountain to climb is steep for the New York Red Bulls. Tuesday night, they take on Santos Laguna in their Concacaf Champions League second leg.
The Red Bulls were defeated last week 2-0 at Red Bull Arena by the Liga MX side. They will need a big time performance to advance to the semifinals of the CCL. Despite their travel issues, Santos took control of the tie by capitalizing on their chances. Diego Valdes had a nice finish to give Santos the lead just before half and then Julio Furch finished off a nice team move early in the second half.
RBNY had their chances but weren’t able to take them. Santos keeper Jonathan Orozco made huge stops, but the Red Bulls inability to finish put them in a deep hole. RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles knows the team has the potential to turn the tie around in Mexico.
“The team is capable of big things,” Robles said. “We’re hoping one of those big things is on display in Mexico and we’re able to overturn this and advance.”
Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips felt that they created enough chances in the first game, and that’s something they can into the second one.
“What we did show is that we created chances,” Wright-Phillips said. If we just finished those, it’s obviously a different game. So, I get confidence from that and the team has too. We know we can create chances against them.”
Santos have never lost to a MLS side at home (7-0-1) in the CCL and have scored 24 goals while only conceding 4 in those games. 4 of their 7 wins have come by three goals or more against quality MLS sides.
However, the Red Bulls did manage a win over a Liga MX side in the quarterfinals away from home when they defeated Club Tijuana 2-0 last year. BWP scored both goals in that game and RBNY would advance to the semifinals before they were eliminated.
Tuesday night they will need at least a 2-0 win to force a penalty shootout. Armas knows they will need to be smart with how they attack the game.
“The way we’ll go about it is intelligently,” Armas said. ” We have to have balance and a calculated approach. The game won’t be won in the first twenty minutes from us, but it can be lost, so we’ll have to be smart in how we go about it. ”
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography