The New York Red Bulls know they’re “not out of the woods yet,” according to captain Sacha Kljestan and they will face a big test on Saturday against Columbus Crew SC.
“They always seem to test us at the highest level,” Kljestan said on Tuesday following training. “It’s always one of the games where we have to run the most, and chase a lot, and have to close them down and make life difficult, because they’re very good at passing the ball.”
Head Coach Jesse Marsch echoed his captain’s statements.
“Columbus has varied certain things they do this year. They’re trying to be a little more sound defensively,” Marsch said. “Tactically, they’ve rearranged certain things with how they use some of their players. But they’re still a very good passing team and can be very dangerous on crosses. They’ll provide a really good challenge for us.”
Marsch said the Red Bulls are working on a plan to shut down the passing attack and focus on how they counterpress.
“We’ll have to prepare for several things, which is always part of the fun of playing Columbus,” Marsch said. “They keep us on our toes.”
Kljestan said they will have a special focus on Crew SC’s Justin Meram and Federico Higuain, who can always be a handful for opposing teams.
“We know it’s always a challenge when we play them,” the head coach said. “It’ll be our job on the day to execute a game plan, to play our way, to make it difficult on them and to take advantage of the opportunities."