UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Heading into Saturday night’s match against FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas, the New York Red Bulls hadn’t won an MLS game since July 6 and were sitting out of the final playoff spot.
What a difference a week — and a 1-0 win — makes.
“There’s like a bit of buzz in training,” goalscorer Luke Rodgers said. “Everyone’s spirits lifted, there’s a bit of a buzz through the camp. Everyone’s feeling confident. We have a happy camp again. It’s a massive win for us, mentally as well. I feel like we can go on a run.”
The optimism is coming at a crucial time of the season for New York, who now sit in the 10th and final place in the playoff seeding following their weekend win. With two games at Red Bull Arena this week — on Wednesday against Real Salt Lake (8 pm ET, watch LIVE online) and on Saturday against the Portland Timbers (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) — the club is hoping to pick up six points. That dream scenario would all but wrap up a playoff berth for the Red Bulls.
“If we can go to Dallas and beat arguably the best team in the league, then we can beat anyone at home,” Rodgers, who had been out nine weeks with a heel injury, said. “I don’t feel that there is pressure and I don’t think the lads feel it as well.”
The match this past weekend in Texas wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. But more than the three points, head coach Hans Backe is benefitting from a team that seems more focused on the task at hand then perhaps this time last week.
“It helps the mood going better, every player is more positive to every training session," Backe said. "The tactical work in two sessions is much sharper. A win means so much.”
Defender Tim Ream agreed.
“Just to get a victory, a win, three points — it was definitely a weight lifted,” the center back said. “In much better spirits after the game — high-fives and hugs and just a lot of chatter after the game and stuff. Head kind of down and disappointed in the result? Didn’t have that this time around. It was great.”