The New York Red Bulls showed how important it is to get off to a good start. By pulling off a very impressive comeback win in expansion country against the Atlanta United FC, backed by the fourth largest turnout in MLS history in their debut match, it was was well-earned result.
Their opening game win should provide forward momentum this Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Rapids.
The Red Bulls were impressed with many things about the Atlanta club organization and especially with the 55,000 plus that filled out Bobby Dodd Stadium. But don’t get the Reds wrong, this was another opportunity to test their resolve. The Red Bulls were not at full strength but they were not afraid.
They left with a well-earned three points by the familiars of the team and they were welcome. “Tactics are one thing,” Red Bull Head coach Jesse Marsch said, “Character and commitment and belief and trust on the field and a group that goes after it is worth so much more.”
The intangibles are preached side-by-side with systems and coming home the Red Bulls know the following. They will find a way. They did not play that well in Atlanta but relied on their pedigree. Sacha Kljestan, who assisted on the game-tying goal, his 35th in 66 games has found his Captain’s voice addressing the team after the win.
“This was one of my favorite games as a Red Bull and it wasn’t even pretty and it was an ugly game and that’s a pretty good team and the way we stuck together and grinded it out, amazing guys.”
The Colorado Rapids are also a win ahead coming off their punishing 1-0 victory over New England Revolution. They were quite physical as shown by the 14 fouls they dished out and the three yellow cards they collected. Gonzalo Veron is being held out of this contest and for his health it probably will be for the best.
Speaking of injuries, defender Gideon Baah was surprisingly added to the season-ending injury list. But midfield is in safe hands with Felipe, who earned a spot on the MLS Team of the Week Bench.
The Red Bulls come in with the momentum of having finally hitting the back of the net after two goal-less CONCACAF Champions League games against Vancouver. Bradley Wright-Phillips continues to be the viper on this squad and his presence alone caused the “own” goal which won the game.
“Coming to the Red Bulls it’s felt like home,” Wright-Phillips said, “I’m allowed to play how I want.”
Luis Robles will be making “ironman” history with his expected 142nd consecutive start which will break the MLS mark for consecutive regular-season appearances. He shares that mark with the former Kansas City Wizards/ LA Galaxy/ USMNT midfielder Chris Klein.
The glut at this position was addressed with the release of both Rafael Diaz and Evan Louro. Both should be returning to NYRB II where Zeiko Lewis has officially been loaned. The Red Bulls will be going with two keepers.
In the final analysis the Red Bulls are a work in progress roster wise and on the field but they are looking to get better starting against Colorado.
“We’re not perfect, we got work to do,” Jesse Marsch said, “We got to continue to figure some things out tactically and continue to work on the new system and I’ll make sure that’s built in and we have more sophistication.”
That would be a welcome sight coming home but it’s nice to play with house money for a change.