A Tale of Two Teams: Red Bulls Road Struggles vs Home Success.

The New York Red Bulls have been a tale of two teams this year.  At home, New York has been absolutely on fire.  NYRB currently have the most wins at home this season in the Eastern Conference, carrying an 8-2-1 record at Red Bull Arena.  In Harrison, NJ, the Red Bulls press hard and play worry free.  With the two only loses at home coming during the Red Bulls less than ideal 1-6 start.  The Red Bulls have since gone eight games unbeaten at home, winning seven of them since their last home loss to Sporting KC back in early April.  However on the road, things get ugly in a hurry for New York.  The team just doesn’t seem to have the same mentality and it shows with how disjointed they can be.

Red Bulls Road Struggles vs Home Success

Home Success

As stated before, the Red Bulls have played almost flawless in the confines of Red Bull Arena this season.  At home, Jesse Marsch’s system looks like poetry in motion.  The midfield is pressing high, turnovers are forced, goals come in bunches, and the defense is solid.  The Red Bulls carry an impressive +13 goal differential at home.  The Red Bulls see much success at home because they play a high pressing match for a full 90 mins.  When New York presses their opposition for the full match they get good results.  The best case of this was shown against NYCFC just a few weeks ago.  Once the Red Bulls went up 4-1, they kept the pressure on FC.  The result, NYCFC struggled to mount any kind of offensive and the Red Bulls cruised to victory.

Road Struggles

When the Red Bulls travel, the team just doesn’t look the same.  In the past three road matches, the Red Bulls have finished each one with a 2-2 draw.  While a 2-2 draw might be good in the playoff format, right now the Red Bulls are dropping much needed points.  The Red Bulls currently sit 3rd in the standings, however, 3rd-5th are separated by only two points.  New York has also played at least one more match then every team behind them in the Eastern Conference.  The difference is at home the Red Bulls press for 90 minutes, on the road them seem to only press for 75.

The Red Bulls had 2-0 leads on both the Philadelphia Union and the Los Angeles Galaxy last in the 2nd half.  Both matches saw those leads erased withing the final 15 minutes.  The Red Bulls have never been a “park the bus” type team.  While they have a solid back line, it is nowhere near good enough to handle 15 minutes of a constant blitzkrieg.  The mounting injuries to the Red Bulls’ defense suggests a new strategy on the road is needed.  The only way the Red Bulls will reverse this trend is with a 90 minute press.  If this team sticks to it’s true identity, these away draws will turn to victories.