Marsch, Red Bulls Focus on Recovery, Remaining Sharp

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RUSS McKENZIE

HANOVER, N.J. – The MLS Cup Playoffs can be an edgy, physical beast. Heading into the international break this weekend, recovery from that beast and retaining sharpness were the focus for Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch.

“Every guy right now is carrying a little wear and tear and couple of bangs here and there, but everybody understands (the need to stay) sharp but not push themselves too hard,” Marsch stated when he addressed the media after training on Wednesday.

Although dominating DC United statistically, the physical play that prevailed in New York’s victory in the Eastern Conference semifinals took a toll on Marsch’s troops, with questions about the health of keeper Luis Robles, who collided with DC midfielder Chris Rolfe in a scary moment in the second leg, Kemar Lawrence and Shaun Wright-Phillips. The speedy winger came off shortly after being subbed on with a bit of hamstring tightness. Marsch, however, was not concerned about the elder Wright-Phillips returning to training again next week.

“This break comes at a perfect time for him. We’re hopeful that we can start ramping him up for the next game, but we will kind of take it day by day,” Marsch stated.

With DC United dispatched, it seems that Marsch’s biggest challenge will be managing time off. The Red Bulls have not had very much success this season when coming out of a long layoff. The match that comes to mind when thinking of RBNY’s lack of focus after a break is their August 26th match vs Chicago Fire; a lackluster 3-2 loss at Toyota Park that left Marsch’s troops beaten on the wing with the speed of David Accam.

After the match Sunday, Marsch was asked about managing the time off, and what he had learned from those stretches during the season. Marsch talked about changes in how he is managing his team during the current layoff, “It’s a different time of year. We learned from that lesson (earlier in the year). It’s more about managing the combination sharpness and the technical aspects of what we’re doing in training and making sure (the players) are still fit and ready to go.”

Marsch said leading into the weekend, his club’s focus was not on Columbus, their next opponent in the sprint to MLS Cup. Instead, New York is going to savor this time off, and enjoy the moment.

“This time of year is fun. There’s a lot on the line, but this is why we do this for living. I certainly think that this team relishes in this moment and will be ready for the big task ahead of us.”

The New York Red Bulls continue their push to MLS Cup on Sunday, November 22nd, at 5pm. They will face the Columbus Crew in the first of their two leg series in Mapfre Stadium, in their second appearance in the Eastern Conference finals in two years.


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