Red Bulls focused – but not on the standings

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

The New York Red Bulls and Jesse Marsch are keeping their focus through the international break — but it’s not necessarily on the league table.

“We’re all aware of it but I think we’re really focused right now on just day-to-day,” said Marsch when asked about his team’s run for the top of the East. “That’s how we’ve gotten ourselves, I think, to move up the table. We’ve talked so little this year about the table, about the standings or about points.”

Marsch’s comments may be a bit of posturing. In the past, he has spoken at length about the importance of finishing first in the Eastern Conference. A first place finish in the East would guarantee New York home field advantage — at least to the Eastern Conference Final. It would also ensure a trip back to next year’s group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

This weekend’s game against the Columbus Crew signifies a big moment where New York could give themselves necessary breathing room at the top — while also eliminating a Conference rival. With only three games remaining and three teams within three points of the top of the table, each head coach will have their eyes on the standings.

“We’ve talked so much more about making sure that now, after our tough start, that we continue to push,” said Marsch. “The more that we focus on that, the more we get results. That’ll be our focus again. It has been our focus these last two weeks. I think that we’ve used it in a really good way.”