Red Bulls have a pretty difficult schedule after a satisfying 3-0 home win versus the Atlanta Silverbacks. The team has a three day break before they have to gear up against the Whitecaps, who have never been beaten by the New York Red Bulls. The matchup offers an introduction to the very difficult, and overwhelming schedule of the next five games. Vancouver Whitecaps comes into RBA with a pretty successful start to the season. After their home opener loss to Toronto FC (1-3), the team went on to rack up the points now having a record of 8-6-2 (26 points) and sit third overall. The Red Bulls then have a midweek game on June 24 against Real Salt Lake, who despite having a relatively average season, pose a major threat to a home victory. Of course the last meeting at RBA against the Western powerhouse saw the dramatic 4-3 victory, NYRB may not be in the graces of the gods. Then on June 28, Red Bulls will cross the Hudson to go
watch a baseball game take on the expansion side, NYCFC. Surely in terms of playoffs and bragging rights this will be the most important of the next three. Following that game, the schedule hits the Red Bulls hard as they take on the New York Cosmos (July 1st) as part of the US Open Cup and Columbus Crew (away) on July 4. As a coach, it will be important for Marsch to prioritize these games. Realistically, why would today be the day the Red Bulls beat the Caps? They have historically struggled against the team, and at present, Vancouver is making a better case for itself to win this match – extending Red Bulls league misery to four lost in a row. Then again, today very well could also be the day that the fans see their team make a turn around. They thrashed the Silverbacks during the week, which is a morale booster – and perhaps it is time to earn points again. Now we have to think of the mid week match up with Real Salt Laker. Surely by now, if we were to have had a starting line up against the Whitecaps, players would be spared here. In that case a tie would be something to shoot for, as Real Salt Lake still have venom in their teeth to make the Red Bulls drop points.
We move onto another edition of the Hudson River Derby, the New York Derby, the New York Cup, call it what you want. This game will take place at Yankee Stadium, in front of an anticipated sold out crowd. The Red Bulls will come armed with 1,600 supporters from the South Ward, as well as many other fans that populate the seats regularly in Harrison. Fans will surely like to see a win here even if it means conceding the games leading up to it. Anything would be given by the supporters to see the Third Rail deflate (not that they were all that lively to begin with) as the sound of “Twist and Shout” vibrates through the Bronx stadium. Following that would be the second half of the race for supremacy in New York – the New York Cosmos. It is time once more to face the Pele-followers of Hofstra, and look for revenge after last year’s Open Cup 3-0 route. The Red Bulls, after fielding a full strength team against Atlanta seem ready to make the commitment to make a strong run in the Open Cup. With that in mind, this game should be no different. A victory here would mean the Red Bulls host the Eastern Regional finals, and be ever so much closer to lifting another piece of silverware. However, knowing the luck from knockout tournaments, perhaps this is a game fans should keep their fingers crossed for. Then to conclude the nightmarish journey of games in such a short period of time, a trip back to Columbus to face the Crew. In the last encounter there, the Red Bulls walked about from a hard fought 2-1 win, which saw Mike Grella start down his path of glory, and scoring the franchise’s 1000th goal in the process. This time around, however, the Crew will be looking for blood as the team has struggled this season, despite good individual performances from a number of players. The trip out west alone will be tiring after the schedule, let alone the game itself. Now, knowing all this, what will happen with the team during all this commotion? Will they win it all? Will they lose it all? Or will it be a nice in between. The Red Bulls sure have the ability to beat every team there. It comes down to a matter of stamina, desire, intelligence, skill, and of course luck. From the first three games, we should expect at least 4 points (preferably three against City). The remainder comes from Marsch’s understanding that players need to rest in between matches.
The Open Cup game seems like a priority, which will make it difficult to do much against City over the weekend as the time period between the games is quite narrow. However, were we to not get a point else where, I would be fine with it so long as both New York teams fall to the Red Bulls. Nothing seems more important now than to establish dominance in the area, and rising as the premier New York side. This sentiment seems to reverberate for a number of reasons. What is a win against Vancouver or RSL if it means a loss to the smurfs? What good is it if once again the Red Bulls bow out of the Open Cup. Marsch must be aware that for the sake of this team, those two games, more specifically: victory in those two games, trumps most else at the moment. Sure, wins against the other sides are important, and you do now want to see morale drop during this period. So if possible. the team should not just strive, but demand wins of themselves in the next five games, as it is doable. This time period will be one of many this season to prove their value. Let us hope the team sees it the same way.