On Thursday night’s New York Derby win, Head Coach Chris Armas gave Marc Rzatkowski, Ryan Meara, and Jared Stroud their first starts of the season. He also gave the center-back pairing of Aaron Long and Tim Parker its first start of the 2020 season. With a tight schedule ahead, the depth of the Red Bulls squad will be put to the test.
“I saw two defenders that were up for the challenge but really stick to the Red Bull principles of defending, which is aggressive defending, which means that they're aggressive to step out, they're reading plays early to defend balls behind, they're shifting into channels,” said Armas on the Long-Parker defensive partnership. “For me, I saw a big commitment level from those two players to how we want to play, and then a pride factor that was individual and collective like ‘I'm going to carry my weight on the day, therefore we are going for the shutout.’ They talked about a shutout. They talked about really being tight back there, so I saw a really hungry tandem back there, hungry to prove something.”
Parker highlighted how much he has been able to achieve alongside Long as one of the reasons why they were able to shut down NYCFCs offense.
“Yeah, it was good,” said Parker. “I think obviously starting from my relationship with Aaron, it's something that we've become pretty used to playing with one another, so especially during a Derby game we want to make sure that we are as solid as could be and obviously limit their chances but at the same time, make sure that we put up a shutout.”
Having Meara in net motivated the backline to keep New York City FC at only two shots on target.
“It's big time for him, you know, we all know how long he's been at this club, how long he's kind of been sitting in that second man seat,” said Parker. “So I think he gave us a little bit of extra motivation to make sure that he gets that Derby win, and to make sure that we made his job easy on the day.”
Danny Royer made emphasis on how the young players have proven themselves in training, leading them to getting playing time in recent weeks and months.
“So far it worked out pretty good because we only had one game and we won, an important and big win always in the Derby,” said Royer. “Not everything was perfect in the Derby, but I think it was a pretty good game, I think we outshot them, we were the better team on the day, and that was definitely a step into the right direction.
“We have to keep those positive vibes, the attitude, the positivity going and keep improving every single day. With the depth since there's so many games in a short period of time now, we definitely need every single player. Over the past weeks and months, I think the young guys have proven themselves in training that they're ready and they're ready to perform when it's necessary.”
New York will try to get a win in Philadelphia that will get them much closer to the top of the Eastern Conference.