Red Bulls Behind The 8 Ball

The New York Red Bulls still have at least 90 more minutes to play in the CONCACAF 2019 Champions League competition, a quarter-final second leg away match next Tuesday in Mexico against a very good Santos Laguna side.

But yesterday they dug themselves into a real hole losing 0-2 to Santos and to make it worse, the two goals were scored at Red Bull Arena as away goals by the Mexican team. Giving up goals at home in aggregate back to back matches is a real non-no.

The Red Bulls need to win next Tuesday by a three goal or more victory, or a 2-0 victory after overtime and then win on penalty kicks.
New York Red Bulls 0, Santos Laguna 2
Concacaf Champions League | Quarterfinals
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 8 p.m. ET
Red Bull Arena | Harrison, N.J.

Box Score

Scoring Summary:
SAN - Diego Valdes (Furch) 42'
SAN - Julio Furch (Lozano, Nervo) 48'

Misconduct Summary:
SAN - Marlos Moreno (caution, unsporting behavior) 34'
NY - Alex Muyl (caution, unsporting behavior) 57'
SAN - Jose Vazquez (caution, unsporting behavior) 60'
NY - Kaku (caution, unsporting behavior) 60'
NY - Marc Rzatkowski (caution, unsporting behavior) 81'

New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles ©; Aaron Long, Kyle Duncan, Tim Parker, Connor Lade, Sean Davis, Marc Rzatkowski, Kaku, Alex Muyl (Andreas Ivan, 61'), Danny Royer (Derrick Etienne, Jr., 77'), Bradley Wright-Phillips


Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Doria, Hugo Nervo, Jesus Angulo, Jose Abella, Brian Lozano, Diego Valdes (Dienner Quinones, 83'), Jose Vazquez, Marlos Moreno (Eduardo Auirre, HT), Javier Correa, Julio Furch (Ulises Rivas, 75')


Referee: Said Martinez
Assistant Referees: Christian Ramirez, Walter Lopez
4th Official: Kimbrell Ward

Attendance: 3508

Two early goals give Santos Laguna a 2-0 lead over the New York Red Bulls in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals Leg 1 on Tuesday at Red Bull Arena.

New York will face Santos for Leg 2 on Tuesday, March 12 at Estadio Corona. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET with coverage on Univision Deportes, and New York Red Bulls Radio on TuneIn.

As the first half came to a close, Santos' Diego Valdes snuck his shot past Luis Robles inside the far post in the 42nd minute for the 1-0 lead.

Moments after the second half begun, Santos doubled their lead as Brian Lozano connected with Javier Correa, who slipped his pass behind the Red Bulls back line for Furch. Furch cashed into the near post to grab the 2-0 lead after leg one.

New York gave up a goal at Red Bull Arena for the first time in 799 minutes across all competitions, dating back to last season.

The Red Bulls were held scoreless at Red Bull Arena for the first time since May 26, 2018, spanning 15 matches across all competitions dating back to last season.

New York's unbeaten SCCL streak at RBA was snapped at nine matches since Red Bull Arena was constructed in 2010. The Red Bulls were 6-0-3 before tonight's match.
Post-Game Quote Sheet
New York Red Bulls 0, Santos Laguna 2
March 5, 2019 | Red Bull Arena

New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas
On missed chances:
It usually can come down to that. It’s one way to look at it, how each team takes their chances. We certainly created a few good ones tonight but it goes like that sometimes and they converted on theirs. We know that about them, specifically that they don’t need a lot of chances for goals. It’s one of the things that we’ve talked about.

On conceding goals just before and after half time:
Yeah, look, going into half time you feel like it’s there for us because of what the first half looked like. Then, to come out in the second half and things really didn’t even settle down and you’re down two-nothing and I think it did rattle us a little bit. You could feel the game needed a little bit of life which is hard, you’re playing against a good team and all the factors – there’s psychological piece to it. The reality, it’s just not easy then. So, yeah, 42nd and 48th minute are tough times to give up goals. We made a good push in the first half and then, you know, later in the game we pushed and maybe could’ve gotten one or two. We thought it’d be important to get in one but it’s pretty clear, it’s half time and there’s a lot of belief in our locker room right now, and the coaching staff. We know that it’s a tough task but one that we’re up for.

On facing Santos’ two strikers:
Yeah look, it’s clear how they play, we thought they would play that way. They could vary it the way they finished the game. We thought that’d be one of the things we could see but their strength is up the field with the quick wingers and the two strikers who do a good job of challenging back lines by staying close to each other, they stay high, and then they operate underneath, which, you now, we could be even more aggressive. As we’re trying to use our sixes to be aggressive and our center backs need to also be aggressive, and they were. They made some plays and we dealt with it for the most part on the night. They scored a goal from across and another little combination which is a good finish but it’s always a challenge when you have two clever strikers that move well and operate and they can get you behind and move underneath as well.

On the team’s strategy if the high-press isn’t effective:
We quickly sorted out, we thought we’d press in two different ways and we quickly sorted it out by just dropping Kaku underneath and staying in midfield instead of side-by-side with Brad which is one way we could go ahead. If we remain aggressive, which is the mindset and plan all the time whether we’re high or even in a deeper block, where the way they’re structured with two central midfielders, we’re thinking our sixes could be more aggressive too. There was a number of transition moments created so they didn’t score any out of, right, they didn’t create many – there was a couple of chances where they beat the pressure and then it’s fires to put out. But that’s the risk we take sometimes and, with good players, sometimes they beat the pressure. But there’s a lot more built in our team. Most teams don’t let us press, like tonight. The way they built out of the back is exactly the way we thought they’d build out of the back because that’s what we’ve seen. I’m not sure exactly what the coach said but we see them play very direct which I think, with the two strikers you could see how good they are playing off each other and that’s what we thought we’d see. So, pressing is one part of it. So much more is counter pressing, so much more is we can be aggressive up the field and aggressive in deeper posture and then with the ball I think we can create, like we did tonight. We created a bunch of chances. Brad had a couple, Conor Lade has a big chance, Andy, the set pieces. Each guy had a couple of good looks there. There might have been maybe five to eight really good looks. So, like we said earlier, if you get one or two of those it’s a different game. That gives us confidence going into leg two. We’ll create.

On creating chances:
James, again, there’s a couple of clear ones, like on the goal line, that we just didn’t take full opportunity of. That’s how it goes sometimes. It doesn’t always go. We’ve seen them play in games like the other night. They had chances, they didn’t get the result. The other team took control and finished their chances. This is one of the ways that it goes. Did we expect for there to be a ton of chances up there, I’m not sure. I know we’ll get chances. There’s not a game that we play that we don’t. So, the plan will be to be aggressive, to understand them now even more, I can’t imagine they’ll look much different from what they try to do. Especially, we know their strength is up the field, their wide play and that their central play up the field is dangerous and we’ll have a better way to address that. So, we can minimize on one end and maximize on the other. We feel good. In the locker room, there’s good energy in there after the game, believe it or not, that there’s a lot of belief and the mentality is strong.

On if the team changed after giving up the goal:
Look, when you play against good teams that have good individual players they sometimes make you miss and they’re hard to deal with sometimes. They’re intelligent all over the field. Sometimes our aggressiveness, if we’re a little bit late, or you know, sometimes it looks like all or nothing plays. Good players can, again, they don’t make it so easy. We’ll have to look hard at what the end of that first half looked like. I’m not sure if it was against the run of play but it felt like we kept pushing and it kept being transition moments. I felt on the night, it was a little bit self-inflicted at times. We saw that, as a team, they’re not always sprinting at you and their back line is always dropping in transition. So, there was time and space. If we could just calm down a little bit. But there did seem to be some unforced errors that we just didn’t get right and that, again, we have confidence that we’ll get those right because often times we do and we can add up to something.

On Depth and Kyle Duncan:
He's a really interesting player, because he doesn't look phased and he can run and you know there's little things in there and he's still going to grow and I think there's a nice upside to his game. You can see that in transition moments defensively, he can get back quickly and he can win foot races and he's got a pretty good knack for getting forward so... and he was really good in the air tonight so the whole package he brought something different to the table… And, yeah, makes us feel like we've got some decisions to make here.

On strategy going into leg 2:
Well, the way we'll go about it is intelligently, having balance to our attacks that we have to... like tonight, one of the messages at halftime, always keeping two guys up and we can't just start throwing everyone forward, both outside backs, so we have to have balance and a calculated approach. Certainly, the game won't be won in the first twenty minutes from us, but it can be lost, so we'll have to be smart in how we go about it, but I think we'll have to remain aggressive too. That's who we are and that's - we'll go there calculated, but one goal at a time.

New York Red Bulls captain Luis Robles
On regrouping after this game:
It’s a tough task but it’s not anything that I don’t think this team is capable of overcoming. You look at tonight’s game and some of the positives, just the amount of opportunities we created. We’ve got to be better to finish but also give credit to the keeper, he made three fantastic saves and allowed his team to stay in it. I know we’re going to look at the video and see how we can improve and that’s sort of the name of the game. It is the beginning of the season, there is going to be some improvements, there has to be improvement. But we also know the team is capable of big things and we’re hoping next week one of those big things is on display in Mexico and we’re able to overturn this and advance.

On having a full week to prepare:
It helps us out. Especially in the beginning of the season, we have a lot of games in preseason and we’ve also started our season. The rotation has been good but you also like it when we get a full week to prepare. We know when we go down to Mexico, we’re going to need that preparation to make sure that we feel confident and yet, even if we didn’t have it, I feel very confident in this group that no matter the team, no matter the destination, wherever we’re at, we’re able to do some big things.

New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips

On his feelings going into leg 2:
Yeah, it's always going to be tough, going there, but what we did show is that we created chances. If we just finished those, you know, it’s obviously a different game. So, I get confidence from that and the team has too. We know we can create chances against them right. It’s not great giving up two goals.

On if the score line reflects the game:
It definitely doesn't reflect the game up. That's what's happening, we've got to deal with that now. That's on us. I don't think it reflects the game. I think they know that themselves.

On Santos’ forwards:
I always find it difficult to put any criticism on our defenders because you guys know for the last year or so, they've been the best part of our team. I just think today there was a different threat up there for them, there's two strikers. Something that we haven't really dealt with. They’re good players, credit to them and they gave A-Lo (Aaron Long) and Tim (Parker) a good game. I still think is not too much to worry about it. Like I said, this game could have been 4-2, we just have to improve on things.

On scoring in the away leg:
I thought today is the best I’ve felt, from preseason, up until now. Today was a day I really did think I was going to score. So yeah, hoping for another Tijuana. I feel like I owe the team a couple of goals, so let's see what I can do.

New York Red Bulls Midfielder Kaku

On not capitalizing on chances:
Yeah, it’s tough. We had those opportunities and we should have been able to score, especially in the first half. Ideally, we could have scored two to three goals in the first half with how well we were playing because of all of the opportunities that we had, we just didn’t convert them.

On preparing for Leg 2:
Yeah, it helps us out especially knowing that we can score those goals. We just have to take it one goal at a time, we have the team to be able to do it, we have the depth, so it’s just a matter of just taking one goal at a time and giving them a tough match to be able to equalize them.

On the timing of goals:
Yeah it was tough, obviously allowing that first goal… If anything, the most frustrating part was allowing the second goal as early as we did. It got a little bit difficult for us, but we still had our opportunities, but their goalkeeper played a really good game.

On the team’s mindset right now:
We understand in the locker room what we have to do. Everyone understands the mistakes that we made, but we did well in Tijuana last year scoring a lot of goals, so we’re capable of doing it, it’s just a matter of taking it one goal at a time.

On facing questions about a possible transfer in Mexico:
Yeah, I mean I’ll be ready but I don’t think there’s much to really answer about it because I’m here with the Red Bulls, that’s what I’m focused on, so they can ask those questions but in the end I’m focused on this team.

Last edited by Dave Birnbaum; 03/07/19 08:45 PM.