The New York Red Bulls are in some trouble. Once again we have seen the Red Bulls struggle with being able to close out late in games. This past Sunday Jesse Marsch’s side took a 2-0 lead into the half versus the Philadelphia Union and were looking strong. However, for the fourth time in the last month the Red Bulls squandered a solid first half performance and dropped much needed points on the road. With the renewal of the Hudson River Rivalry on the horizon, the Red Bulls need some major improvements and quickly.
Hudson River Rivalry: Pressure all on Red Bulls
Despite winning four of the first five meetings against New York City FC, the Red Bulls are in the midst of a very shaky stretch. They are by no means favored this weekend. Seeing leads blown against Real Salt Lake, the Columbus Crew, and Philadelphia, many are beginning to question Marsch’s decision making late in matches. Marsch has sometimes tried to implement a more defensive tactic by adding a fifth defender. This tactic has seen very mixed results. The only positive being a 2-0 lead held against a sub-par Orlando City.
Marsch’s decision to pull away from his high pressing style is certainly quite interesting. Last year, this style of play stifled opposition, leading the Red Bulls to their second Supporter’s Shield in three years. The sudden changes shown at the end of the game has certainly got many Red Bulls supporters scratching their heads. Not to mention, making them nervous heading into this Sunday’s match against their rivals.
New York City FC are Red Hot
In addition to the Red Bulls struggles, NYCFC might arguably be the hottest team in all of MLS right now. In the last month NYCFC have posted a record of 5-0-1. Heading into this Sunday’s clash with the Red Bulls, this side should be full of confidence and expecting three points. NYCFC will not feel intimidated at Red Bull Arena. The have the best away record of any team in the MLS this season, winning six of ten road games.
A loss to NYCFC at this point in the season could be absolutely devastating to the New York Red Bulls. In the midst of a stretch in which they have only won once in their last six matches, a loss could really put them in a hole. While they currently sit third in the MLS Eastern Conference Standings, the Red Bulls have three teams right behind them in the points column. The Red Bulls have also played two more games than a fair amount of teams nipping at their heels. While the Red Bulls should make the play-offs, a loss here could make getting a first-round bye much more difficult. However, a win against NYCFC could give the Red Bulls just the confidence boost they need to soar up to the top of the Eastern Conference.
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 03: Midfielder Jack Harrison #11 of New York City FC and defender Connor Lade #5 of New York Red Bulls vie for the ball during the match at Yankee Stadium on July 3, 2016 in New York City. New York City FC defeats New York Red Bulls 2-0. (Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images)