Buck The Trend: Red Bulls look to avoid layoff lethargy



HANOVER, N.J.  – Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles remembers.

The pattern of poor form after a long layoff has been one that New York has been trying to shake off since mid-season. Some would argue it has been a defining characteristic of the club for the better part of five years. Whatever the case may be, when asked about it after training on Monday, Robles quipped, “You had to bring that up, huh?”

“We’re confident that the previous experiences are something we can learn from,” he continued. “It’s been something that we can collectively get behind – that we’ve had some times that we haven’t come up sharp, and we want to buck that trend.”

While acknowledging the less-than-ideal timing of the international break, captain Dax McCarty prefers to look at the layoff in a different way, with a focus on healing time for the stretch tun. “It’s a good thing that MLS takes a break (for international duty). You lose a little bit of momentum, but that’s no excuse.”

The Red Bulls will face what is arguably their toughest task of the season when they face the Columbus Crew; a team that has a similar philosophy. Just as Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch has his club’s buy-in and unwavering belief in the system he introduced at the start of the 2015 season, Crew bench boss Gregg Berhalter has been the mastermind behind Columbus’ tactical eloquence and flexibility. While they don’t quite play the same high-press that Marsch’s troops have built their second Supporters Shield campaign upon, they deploy a significantly more attractive brand of soccer than the Red Bulls’ previous opponent, DC United.

“I think when we look at the last round of the playoffs, DC was the perfect team, because in the game, on the fly, we had to make adjustments,” Robles said. “That’s something we can carry over to this game. Whether they decide to play possession out of the back, or play direct, I’m very comfortable with the personnel I have in front of me.”

McCarty seemed to admire Columbus and their system, while remaining focused on the gravity of the task at hand. “I have a lot of respect for the way that they do things,” he said. “They have a set style of play that their head coach preaches that they play no matter what. The only time I’ve ever seen them switch up their style was against us in that second game (in Columbus).”

On July 4th, the Red Bulls visited Mapfre Stadium, only to have their high press turned against them time and again. Columbus played more directly to Kamara, often on the counter, with speed on the wings. McCarty and the Red Bulls were caught out of position and the Crew walked away with those three points, as New York’s transition game simply was not up to the task. This differed from how Columbus attacked the Red Bulls in the two matches at Red Bull Arena. Especially in the final victory against Columbus, Berhalter’s club played the ball out of the back more, allowing the Red Bulls to snuff out attacks before they began by causing turnovers in the Crew’s defensive third.

It wouldn’t be the only time a club hurt the Red Bulls on the counter. A 5-2 loss against Orlando City comes to mind, as well. In that match, Cyle Larin scored a hat trick to put himself into MLS record books as scoring the most goals in a rookie season. That match seemed to yield the same goal over and over again, according to Marsch.

Again, lessons learned during the season have played into how the coach gets his team ready, and it won’t be any different come this weekend.

“Today was a pretty intense day for this time of the year, but it was good. The guys were into it. We’ll get all the (physical) details right. We’ll get all the preparation right. We know what our game plan is, and our guys are ready to throw it all out there,” Marsch said. “They understand.”


  • MTF

    Columbus is dealing with the same layoff. The Red Bulls need to steal a win or a tie and, most importantly, hopefully more than one away goal.

  • Cosmo

    I had fc Dallas vs revolution for MLS cup when the season started
    Then switch to Seattle vs Montreal
    Then switch again to fc Dallas vs Montreal.
    Now there’s only 4, who will win and have gone for timbers vs red bull.
    Timbers is riding the good luck train and red bull will play an easy team.
    Columbus had the game lost against Montreal and Montreal looked tired,and Columbus got easy goals.

    Timbers vs red bull at red bull arena and timbers win and it will be full of timbers fans loud and clear and red bull fans will cry for new dps and new ownership.

    • Cosmo

      Unless red bull limits the tickets to timbers like they did I to nycfc fans.
      I would love to see red bull arena full of timbers fans going no crazy and chanting and showing how it’s suppose to be done, and if possible I would love a cosmos fan to take a Cosmos flag and wave it proudly in red bull arena.

      • slowleftarm

        Why would a Cosmos fan come to RBA for MLS Cup? To see what an actual soccer stadium looks like?

        • jordy

          I just don’t see the RB’s winning I dunno doesn’t seem like this team can made that happen

          • slowleftarm

            Looks like angry Bill is back with a new name.

            • slowleftarm

              I truly am a moron

              • slowleftarm

                Oh now Angry Bill has reverted to posing as people. Can’t blame him – I wouldn’t want to be him either.

      • JW

        NYCFC was punished for throwing flares and other violations of MLS rules. No other reason for limiting tickets.

    • BleedingRed

      Now you think Columbus is an easy team? Last time you said that the RedBulls will be surprised by what either Columbus or Montreal will bring to the Eastern Conference Finals. Furthermore you are now saying that the Timbers will beat the RedBulls when you had said before that the Western champs will reach the MLS Cup tired and ultimately lose. Dude, do us a favor and shut up. Just shut up.

    • EPL Fan

      Clearly you have been wrong about everything so far so maybe you should just shut up.

  • Cruz

    I wonder if the layoff will both them mentally ?

  • Florian

    RB’s suck they wont win

  • slowleftarm

    this is truly a minor league franchise

    • Anonymous

      Agreed – Plastic cosmos certainly are.

      • slowleftarm

        Yes Cosmos are minor league and so is their biggest fan Angry Bill, the impostor.

        • EPL fan

          As opposed to highave quality of mls, a league full of euro rejects.

          Don’t be JerKS all your life

        • slowleftarm

          I am such a loser reject living on the fringe of society help me .

          • slowleftarm

            Perhaps but even I don’t stoop so low as to pose as other posters.

            • slowleftarm

              wait a minute I do pose as other posters cause I have no life no future no girl and really a loser of a team I root for HELP ME !!!

  • Brad

    EPL fan you’re a loser.

    • EPL Fan

      So I am!

      But you guys are all deluded assholes!

      Let’s celebrate together!

  • Brad

    You’re a loser.

    • slowleftarm

      did u ever get that Beer Brad u damn drunk !!!!

  • Vic

    A lot of butt hurt NYShitty and Cosmos fans on this thread. Just show up, enjoy the game, sit with some knowledgable fans who have stuck w their team regardless of the circumstances and didnt move on to some shinny(shitty) new toy when things got tough and remember…NYisRED NJisRED LIisRED

    • slowleftarm

      I DONT DRINK NO RED BULL ANYMORE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • slowleftarm

      what don’t u shut up Vic

    • slowleftarm

      I sometimes get the feeling angry bill just forgets to change his name after he posts as me.

  • slowleftarm

    angry bill who dat ?

    • slowleftarm

      Look in the mirror Angry Bill.

      • slowleftarm


  • slowfrontallobe

    Hey! Cut it out! Nobody can tell the stupid joke posts from my serious ones!