If you think the Red Bulls are looking to rest up a few starters before the playoffs, think again.
The tempo at this week’s Montclair State University training sessions remain upbeat and competitive, even after the club locked up its spot in the postseason this past weekend. One point may have been enough to extend New York’s schedule, but it’s not enough by the team’s standards as they prepare for Saturday’s clash against the Philadelphia Union (1:30pm, NBC).
“On any given day anyone can win, especially going into the last game of the season,” said Connor Lade. “We can end up in a different array of positions. We’re really just working hard to get the win and put ourselves in a good spot for the next round.”
New York has seen the scenario a number of times these past few weeks: teams with nothing to play for, players looking to lock up jobs in 2013 and defend their home turf in front of the faithful home crowd. That was the case in New England and Toronto, and the same one the Red Bulls face yet again this Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Hans Backe on Philadelphia’s position in the Eastern Conference table. “I’ve said it a thousand times, whoever you play in this league and whoever, if they had 19 points, it would be a hard game. That’s what this league is all about. It’s that even, and of course they would like to finish off well when they play at home.”
The players and coaching staff remain focused on the task ahead in Philly, fully aware of the potential playoff scenarios pending the outcome. But for right now it’s just that first part that remains at the forefront of each person sporting a Red Bulls jersey this Saturday.
“We have to control what we can control, and that’s Philly,” Lade said. “We need to go down there. It’s a tough place to play. Last time we were in there the game wasn’t easy at all. We have to go in there ready to fight, because they have nothing to lose and that’s always tough to play against.”
The Red Bulls and Union face off at PPL Park for a 1:30 pm ET kick off this Saturday in New York’s final regular season match of 2012. Tickets for a potential MLS Cup playoffs home match at Red Bull Arena are on sale now at the RBNY Playoff Hub or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.