The New York Red Bulls lost on Saturday, another one-goal loss in 2021 for Head Coach Gerhard Struber's side.
"In the end, I think we have to find more control in this game, and we lose too much the control," Struber said. "We have not always the momentum in our hands. It switched in the first half and second half and it was very difficult today and we realize the team from Montréal are very good, especially on the ground, to play very quick with some very good key players. But I think we control many times the game, but in the second half, we lose the momentum too much. We find not always good distances together, and I think this was more the big reason that we cannot bring points home."
Of New York's nine losses on the season, just one has been by more than a one goal margin: the 3-1 loss to New England Revolution on May 22.
The Red Bulls grabbed the lead in the dying moments of the first half when defender Andrew Gutman drove into the box and was taken down for a penalty. Patryk Klimala stepped up and converted for his fourth goal of the season before the first half came to a close.
New York surrendered the lead in the 71st minute, before Montréal got the game-winner in a bizarre series of events.
"We have to be very resilient in this moment, and this is not easy for me and for my coaching staff, and also for the players to realize at the moment these results," Struber said. "But we have to be very close together. We have to believe in our identity and also that we build up a big resilience in these moments."
Following a hand ball in the box, Carlos Coronel was able to save the first penalty, but VAR ruled encroachment. On the second penalty attempt for Montréal, Coronel again made the save. Again, he was called for encroachment. Finally, on the third attempt, Montréal scored and took all three points.
Struber made sure to single out his goalkeeper for his efforts in net -- including an earlier save to keep Montréal off the board in the first half.
"It's very, very important for us to be very close together," Struber said. "Find a good mindset for the game on Wednesday. Right now, we have to reflect it, and to be very clear for the next game, and this is the most important thing right now."
New York will return home to Red Bull Arena to host the reigning MLS Cup Champs in Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday and their crosstown rivals New York City FC on Saturday in the first New York Derby of the year.
"Right now, we have three home games, and I think this is always helpful, to play at home with our supporters," Struber said.
For Gutman, the way to get the club moving back in the right direction is simple: Play out the full 90 minutes.
"We just have to put 90 minutes together, it’s pretty simple," Gutman said. "It’s not like we’re getting blown away or something like that. I’ve been on teams that are far worse and we’re not a bad team, it’s just we have to put 90 minutes together, honestly, that’s really all I can say on that."
New York has been hampered by injuries this season and has struggled to keep a first-choice lineup on the pitch consistently.
"Right now we have to be very careful with some players," Struber said. "They have the last few weeks an overload situation, and we go a critical way with some players with the load and we have to plan the load very careful."
Despite the challenges, the playoffs are still in New York's sights.
"It's clear that the playoffs are a clear goal for us, and we fight and we work for this goal," Struber said. "We always speak about the big vision, we build up a team with a clear goal this season to come one more time in the playoffs, I think this is very, very important.
"But we have to grow up and build up a young team in a direction with a typical Red Bulls style, and when we make for us the steps this season, I think with smart decisions in the transfer windows, we can be a team they can make the dream to a goal and then we speak about that, what you say," Struber said. "But right now, I think it's clear, we will drive in the end, the playoffs, and we have 16 games for us."