UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Change of plans? No big deal for the New York Red Bulls.
A day after MLS announced the Red Bulls and D.C. United will swap the dates of their home games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals due to Hurricane Sandy, the Red Bulls addressed the topic by saying they are largely unaffected by having to travel for the first leg of the series.
New York were expected to host the first leg on Saturday at Red Bull Arena before traveling to RFK Stadium on Nov. 7, but the locations of those games have switched and the Red Bulls departed for Washington on Thursday afternoon. Red Bull Arena has been without power since the hurricane made landfall on Monday.
“Even yesterday they mentioned the possibility of us playing in [Philadelphia],” goalkeeper Luis Robles told reporters on Thursday. “After that [team] meeting yesterday, we all had the mindset no matter where we play – whether we’re at home, away, at a neutral site – we have a task at hand.
“I think the boys are ready for that. Training went well today, the intensity was there,” he added. “We’ll go into D.C. knowing that regardless of the fact that we’re playing away, we still need to get a result and not rely on coming home for the second leg.”
Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry shared that sentiment. After all, he’s accustomed to the two-leg format from years playing on Europe’s biggest stage.
“When you play in the Champions [League], you play home and away,” said Henry. “For me, it doesn’t change anything.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.