After a hard fought win against the Chicago Fire, the New York Red Bulls head to Houston. The match kicks off a busy month for the team.
The Red Bulls, 3-1-1 over their last 5 MLS matches, are hot, while the Houston Dynamo are slumping. Houston is 0-4-1 in their last five matches. Despite the Dynamo’s poor form, the Red Bulls expect a tough match.
“They are built for attack in transition,” said head coach Chris Armas following the match. “We know Manotas up top is very dangerous and doesn’t need many chances to score. Quioto and Ellis are very dangerous in the high and wide. Taking care of the ball up the field, counter pressing, keeping our balance when we have the ball is important.”
The Red Bulls defense struggled over their last three matches, all while missing key players to international call-ups. After two lackluster performances against the Philadephia Union and the New England Revolution, the Red Bulls held off a dangerous Fire attack. Instead of lamenting the pressure they were under, the Red Bulls point to the result as a sign of growth amongst their depth players.
“For us, obviously the fact that we were able to soak up so much pressure, you don’t want to do that, but it’s a good test and we were able to bend without breaking for most of the game,” Alex Muyl said at the Red Bulls Training Facility Monday afternoon. “We let in a goal that everyone thinks we can do better with, but overall, against a pretty good Chicago team, I think we were able to minimize goals against, so that was big. Houston, again, if we can go over there and minimize goals against, we have a good chance of winning.”
The Dynamo like to defend deep, attack directly, and run in behind defenders, a formula that causes recent Red Bull teams fits. The Red Bulls may use a similar tactic to slow down the Dynamo they used against the Fire and other talented attacks this season. That means using the Dynamo’s strengths against them, and forcing them to bring numbers forward.
“They commit numbers forward too,” said Armas. “So we can maybe try to catch them the other way in different moments. They are a good team. They haven’t gotten all of the results over the last few games, but they’ve been missing some players. They are in every game, they make it hard, they are well coached, and they make it hard. It’s always a challenge at their place. We always have good games with them. We’ll be up for it, and I think we understand what type of game they can put us in when they are at their best with what can hurt us.”
Players To Watch
Brian White: Currently leading the team with 5 goals, netting himself one in the game against Chicago Fire. He needs to show that he belongs in the team, and has a suitable fire lit under his rear to show that he has what it takes to take the role of the teams striker.
Alberth Elis: Leading the Dynamo in assists and second in goals scored. Will be possibly a main point of attack, assuming he’ll be back in the 11 after Honduras went out of the Gold Cup. This assumes he plays, though the Dynamo may rest Elis following his international jaunt. The Red Bulls will need to limit the touches he gets and contain him.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography