Dour Red Bulls “gutted” by early playoff exit


HARRISON, N.J. – If you thought the fans were demoralized following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to the Montreal Impact, you had to see the players.

The New York Red Bulls were somber and left Red Bull Arena with few answers following yet another disappointing playoff run — an ouster that extends their winless-MLS Cup run to 21 years.

“I’m gutted for my team, my staff, my organization and my fanbase,” said Jesse Marsch after the match. “Everybody’s poured their hearts into this. I feel a big sense of disappointment in our inability to win the Cup.”

The Red Bulls have had two straight seasons under Marsch, finishing on top of the Eastern Conference but falling to arguably lesser competition in both playoff runs. To make matters worse, they have been unable to imprint their signature high-press offense on the playoffs despite extreme success with the tactic in the regular season.

Going into this playoff run, the team had gone 20 straight games without suffering a loss.

They end it winless in two.

The players and the staff certainly didn’t hide their disappointment. Several players have been with the team for years and seen different iterations tactically but the success has not followed.

“Playoffs are always tough,” said Mike Grella after the game. “Sometimes when you have a 20 game unbeaten streak it adds a bit of pressure because you need to win.”

“That belief that we’ve had in one another in the second half of the season is what made us think that we were going to advance today,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles, whose outward show of disappointment was most poignant. “I’m just at a loss for words.”

Where the team goes from here is unknown but there doesn’t appear that there will be an ideological change. Following the game, head coach Jesse Marsch doubled down on his team’s strategy despite two straight failed attempts at capturing MLS Cup.

“This is who we are,” said Marsch when asked if the team would re-examine their playing style. “It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than anybody. Everything that’s been built in this club in the last two years has laid a foundation for great success moving forward.”

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