SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Off to a winning start in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the New York Red Bulls are anticipating a much different task in their first fixture away from home.
After battling to a 3-0 result against Guatemalan side Antigua GFC at Red Bull Arena, the 2015 Supporters’ Shield champions are gearing up for a challenging fixture as a matchup with Alianza FC awaits them on Tuesday night.
“We know we’re in for a very difficult match,” New York head coach Jesse Marsch said during Monday’s press conference. “They’ve been very unlucky with some of their results this season, but we’re expecting a very good team in a very difficult place to play.”
Making their 2016/17 CCL debut, Alianza will be looking to start the competition on the right foot in front of their home fans despite a slow start to their league campaign.
The capital club qualified for this year's competition by defeating a past Red Bulls CCL opponent, CD FAS, in the Salvadoran Apertura final by a score of 1-0. Alianza has one previous CCL appearance, in 2011/12. Against MLS competition, they lost both matches to FC Dallas by 1-0 score lines.
“As much as we’re taking this tournament very seriously, we know that Alianza is as well,” Marsch added. “It’s a big opportunity for them to make a big statement in their first match of the tournament, so we’re expecting their absolute best.”
Tuesday night’s match will mark the first meeting between Alianza and New York, but will see the Red Bulls return to Estadio Cuscatlan for the second time in two years after earning a 0-0 draw with FAS in the 2014/15 version of the tournament.
Expecting a physical match, the Red Bulls will lean on some players from their USL squad as well as first-team regulars despite a taxing match at the weekend against the Montreal Impact.
“We like combative matches,” Marsch continued. “They’re going to try to put their stamp on the game early by making it hard on us.
“We’re going to be put a good team on the field. Even though we had a very difficult match on Saturday, we’re going to put a lot of guys who’ve recovered and some fresh legs out there. In all ways, we’re going after this game.”