Red Bulls 1-1 Draw vs Sporting KC In Preseason Match
The New York Red Bulls played to a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening at the Kino Sports Complex in a preseason match in Tucson, Arizona behind a goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips.
With the first leg of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 series against CD Olimpia just over a week away, Jesse Marsch pushed his starting group to a full 90 minutes, aside from midfielder Marc Rzatkowski, who played 75 minutes before being replaced by academy product Amando Moreno.
"The part about pushing guys for 90 minutes was really good," said Marsch. "Guys dug in. It wasn't easy, the field was heavy, but really happy with how much the guys put into it. I think from a fitness perspective we'll be closer and more ready to go for next week."
Midfield regular Felipe was not with the team on Wednesday. Felipe departed camp on Tuesday to be at home for the birth of his second child.
Rzatkowski saw his first extended game action after joining New York on loan from Red Bull Salzburg in January.
Wright-Phillips' goal came off of a broken play after a first-half corner kick. The ball fell for the Red Bulls striker and he was able to find the back of the net from outside the six-yard box.
The Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League series against CD Olimpia begins on Thursday, February 22 with a match at Costa Rica's Estadio Nacional. The return leg at Red Bull Arena is set for the following week, Thursday March 1, with an 8 p.m. ET kickoff.
Lineup: Luis Robles; Kemar Lawrence, Aurelien Collin, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence; Marc Rzatkowski (Amando Moreno, 75'), Tyler Adams ©, Danny Royer, Sean Davis, Derrick Etienne Jr., Bradley Wright-Phillips
On the game:
The part about pushing guys for 90 minutes was really good. Guys dug in. It wasn't easy, the field was heavy, but really happy with how much the guys put into it. I think from a fitness perspective we'll be closer and more ready to go for next week. And then yeah, there's a lot of little mistakes in there, a lot of little things that aren't perfect, but right now it's not going to be. It's going to be more about mentality, and making sure that we understand this is going to be about grinding out a result in Costa Rica, about committing to each other, about dealing with difficult moments and capitalizing on opportunities. We'll look at some things carefully, but we know that we have a lot of work to do yet and we'll make sure that we take some positives from today, look at some good things, and move forward in a good way.
On KC being a good match leading into CCL:
I think they gave us a really good match. It was combative at times, but there was also some good football at times. For sure when us and Kansas City play each other, we both have very aggressive tactics and it makes for a combative game. That will be good preparation for us. I think that still for the most part it was still a clean game which was good, and I think we got closer to where we want to be based on what we experienced tonight.
On the midfield tonight with Adams and Rzatkowski:
I thought [it was] pretty darn good. I thought that they were able to create a lot of turnovers through pressing and counter-pressing, and then were able to take some of those and turn them into advantages. We weren't quite sharp enough on our advantages but again that's normal this time of year, and I think it wound up being, at times, and up and down game because we were able to create those turnovers and get out on the run. You could see our guys are heavy. We had a good 75 minutes on Saturday, we turn it around and we have a really good 90 minutes today. We'll now ease off and make sure that they recover fully and make sure that when we go down to Costa Rica that in all ways we're ready to fly at them.
On roster flexibility and playing a 4-2-3-1:
I think, you know, we do have a comfort zone with different formations. We'll play another closed-door scrimmage tomorrow against Colorado and we'll play a different formation for that game. That's, I think, something that we've built into this group and they're clear on different roles and it's exciting to have a team that has a lot of tactical flexibility because you can use guys in different ways, you can look at matchups and you can really try to play to our strengths. I'm happy, you know when you have to crunch a preseason together so quickly, so many problems arise because you're not quite satisfied with the progression because you really have to speed everything but. That being said, I think what's most important is that the guys work hard every day, commit to it all the way, commit to each other, and they did that in a big way tonight, which we were very proud of.
On the match:
Yeah, it was good to get 90 minutes under your belt. I think we needed it. Obviously with a game coming up, we needed the 90 minutes. The guys pushed through. The first half wasn't too great, I didn't think we were too organized. We got to work in the second half and looked a bit better aside from conceding a goal.
I don't really look for goals in the preseason, I look for fitness. I think once you're fit, the goals will come. It's always nice to score a goal, but it's definitely not on my mind in preseason.
On formation flexibility and playing a 4-2-3-1:
Yeah I think the formation tonight, like I said first half it wasn't too... you could tell it was, we hadn't done it for a minute. It was a bit hard to get to grips with, and the personnel... after a while, we had a talk at halftime and I think we had a little more understanding. It just shows with the players we've got, and the kind of formations we can play with the players. I think all players and it showed tonight.
On Champions League:
First of all, it's recovering after today's game and then we train right. We have to get a few hard sessions in but you know we have to slow it down as we start nearing the game. I think we still need some hard sessions though, because it's going to be difficult over there and we need to be even fitter.