Marsch Answers Questions … Most of Them



HARRISON, N.J. — After gingerly addressing the first few questions tossed his way during Monday’s Red Bulls media day, Coach Jesse Marsch shut it down.

“Look, I’m not going to answer any more questions on Ali and Dax,” Marsch said, referring to the club’s former sporting director Ali Curtis and the team’s former captain Dax McCarty.

Curtis left the club last week while McCarty was traded to the Chicago Fire.

“I’m not sure why, but it seems it was a bigger deal outside the team than it was inside the team,” Marsch said at Red Bull Arena. “It’s been no distraction within the team at all. We’re looking forward, not back.”

That gaze into the future will quickly crystalize, beginning with Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League match against visiting Vancouver and then the start of the 2017 Major League Soccer season, with the Red Bulls poised to defend their Eastern Conference title.

Marsch hit on a number of topics:

On the first leg of the Champions League vs. the Whitecaps: “We don’t feel fully prepared but there’s an urgency and excitement. We’ll have a full complement for Wednesday night, but we’re not all totally fit and totally in shape. The only benefit is that we have Vancouver and we’re both in same the boat.”

• On the appointment of Sacha Kljestan as team captain: “It’s a natural fit. This guy is our clear, top leader.”

• On his expectations for the season: “I like our team energy in the preseason, it has been a fantastic group. The core has been together a good two years with small additions here and there. There is a real sense of identity of who we are and how we want to play and continue to build into that. We’re more sophisticated tactically and mentally.”

• On the team’s postseason struggles: “Those moments make you in life when you have monumental moments [winning the Supporters Shield twice since 2013] and have immediate success or failure it makes you look internally more than anything. That part leaves us yearning for more. We want to focus more on details on what makes us good and expand less on overall vision where want to go and who want to be. We want to zone in on that minutiae and be good at that, which will lead us to position we can control and lead to bigger success. I don’t know if that’s more Plato or Socrates or if someone would look at any of what I just said and say it’s a bunch of bull.” … After all, Marsch is a Princeton man!

• On reports he had been offered a position as coach of Red Bull Salzburg: “I don’t have much to say, I’ll take it as flattery. I just think there were people wanting to sensationalize things. I’m part of club and global brand and it is a privilege. I’ve learned from that club, and their support has been incredible. Other than that, there is nothing to be reported. I’m the biggest fan of Leipzig and Salzburg, but I’m not qualified to be their coach.”