UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A loss is never easy for a team to handle, but there is a silver lining in New York’s 1-0 defeat on the road this past Saturday to Real Salt Lake. The Red Bulls know they can play and hang with the best teams in the league.
After a disastrous first half where New York got outplayed by the reigning MLS Cup champions, the Red Bulls bounced back to have a strong second half performance and outplayed their hosts.
In a difficult environment – RSL tied the league record of 22 home games without a loss – the Red Bulls showed they have a good team that can be dangerous come the playoffs.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Most impressive, the team was without four starters for the match, all of whom were called away from the club to play for their national teams.
“We had a sloppy first half, a solid second half,” head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “We responded well. We definitely could have had a tie.”
The Red Bulls held far more possession in the second half against RSL, pushing up well from the wings and getting improved central play.
“I think it showed that we can play well against a good team, in their place, even when not everything is going for us,” midfielder Joel Lindpere said. “The second half, we were much improved, and I think that is what we can take from this match for the rest of the season and the playoffs.”
“We’re rather close to where we want to be,” Backe said Wednesday. “We’re not there yet, but we’re close.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012