The New York Red Bulls are ready to perform on Saturday, in Round One of the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.
"On Saturday, in every direction, we have to be very focused and very clear how we create a rest defense and also how we create successful moments in transitions," Head Coach Gerhard Struber said. "With the right staggering, with the right numbers, with dynamic with overload moments in the right areas, we will create the match plan and then we will see how this will work on Saturday."
The Red Bulls will host FC Cincinnati in the first postseason meeting between the two clubs ever and the first home playoff match for New York since 2018. Kickoff is set for 12 PM ET.
"For every single player this will be the chance to create your personal memories -- maybe create history -- and in this direction we will invest all that we can in this time," Struber said. "The trust between us here, in my group of players and staff members, is on a very high level and we have absolutely nothing to lose."
New York earned their 15th win of the season after defeating Charlotte FC on October 9, which marks the 10th time in franchise history they have accomplished the feat.
"If we play with the right intensity and play like we know how we can play, it should be set up for us," John Tolkin said.
The Red Bulls gained 17 points this season from losing positions, which is tied for the fourth most in MLS this year.
"The boys are ready. I can feel the focus, the concentration, in this game is growing," Struber said. "We have to work and invest everything on Saturday. The fans must feel this from the first second that we go to our limit in every direction. I expect from my boys that everyone is ready to leave everything on the field on Saturday. This is what I expect, it is what the fans expect from us: that we leave everything on the field."
New York are the youngest team in the world as compared to big 5 soccer leagues, ahead of La Liga’s Valencia CF (avg. age 23.99) in Spain, the Bundesliga’s VfB Stuttgart (24.22) in Germany, and the English Premier League’s Southampton FC (24.40), and Arsenal FC (24.43).
"It gives us a little chip on our shoulder, almost like an underdog mentality, because with younger guys, if you ask most people they'd say they're not supposed to win this game," Tolkin said. "But we like that, you know, we like when our backs are against the wall. I think that's how every Red Bull team has been in the past and when that is the case, I feel like we definitely always show up and perform. We kind of always have that in the back of our minds and we'll be ready."