HANOVER, N.J. – After a winless September, the New York Red Bulls righted the ship over the past two games, just in time for the playoffs. But given heavy squad rotation anticipated for Sunday’s match at DC United, perhaps they risk losing their good vibes if they don’t get a positive result.
It is something that the Red Bulls and head coach Jesse Marsch need to guard against.
With a Knockout Round game a given for next week, the Red Bulls are going to sit or rest several influential members of their team at DC. It makes sense as it isn’t much for them to gain from this match as they are locked in as a sixth seed and can use this weekend to not only rest players but also as a way to get some sharpness for a few of their bench options.
Yet given their tough road in September, the last two games in October where they’ve gotten a win and a draw was a step in the right direction. They may want to rest some players but also the Red Bulls can’t risk a bad result that could eradicate the steps forward from the last two games. Momentum, after all, is crucial heading into the postseason.
“Our key has been to be really focused, concentrated and locked-in on how we want to play and what we want to be,” Marsch said.
“Regardless of who is on the field, we always want to play our way. It will be a little bit different and gives us potential to set us ourselves up to be really ready for the playoffs. We want these points, we need these points for multiple reasons but more than anything, to make sure that every guy is ready to go and looking sharp and ready for some big matches.”
Marsch called this fixture a “building block” with the playoffs just around the corner. The Red Bulls as a team aren’t concerned about the idea that resting some players will hurt them come the postseason.
“It’s possible but I think the way we’re looking at the playoffs and the first round because September was such an emotionally and physically draining month, there may be some aftereffect there,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said.
“Our last two games we’ve played have been against good opponents and for the most part I think – looking at the performances and the results – there have been a lot of positives there – so we feel good giving minutes to other guys and having those guys come in fresh come the playoffs.”