Six straight games unbeaten for the New York Red Bulls and they suddenly are right back in the thick of the playoff race with six more games to play.
The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 25th minute, when defender Andrew Gutman won possession of the ball off a turnover from Inter Miami. Gutman played a ball into the feet of forward Patryk Klimala, who placed it past Nick Marsman to give New York the lead -- and eventually the win.
"This gives the whole team a very, very good feeling that we are so ready in our staggering, in our structure at the moment, with our behavior, how we create our synchronized pressing," Head Coach Gerhard Struber said. "This makes it not easy for the opponents at the moment and give us a very good confidence in our defensive behavior."
New York hasn't lost in their last six matches, and has picked up 14 points out of 17, with four wins and two draws.
"My back line, my sixes, make a brilliant job of organizing the rest of the defense in a very good direction," Struber said. "In defending, I can feel the big attitude to hold the clean sheet in our hand, and also our big weapon to come in transition and to score, this makes the difference today. We can see this with our goal."
New York has held opponents to just two goals through their six-match unbeaten streak.
Captain Sean Davis didn't know who to praise first.
"I do not know where to start, but we knew going into this game that it was going to be a tough game, especially at this point in the season," Davis said. "You know, every single game is going to be really tight at times and we understand that if we want to have success that we have to be committed for 90 minutes. We have to be focused for 90 minutes and I think we showed that tonight, again there is room for improvement, but I think we have taken a lot of lessons from this season, and we are starting to put it together in a really strong way."
On the attack side, Struber knows that despite the wins, there are still strides to be made in the attack.
"We can see today we created a lot of chances with transitions, and we have to be sharper in these moments to score the second, the third goal, and then everything is done I think after the first half," Struber said. "I am very happy today. We won this game. It was a very, very tough game, yeah, against massive quality against us, especially when we speak about Higuaín and his friends on the field."
During the Red Bulls unbeaten streak, they have scored nine goals, which is tied for the fourth-most in MLS.
"We knew that we needed to win the game and our situation would be much better because now we would have three points for the playoffs, but we have to just keep going," Klimala said. "We have six games left and we want to win all those games."
Gutman, who has a goal and an assist in his last two matches, has been important on offense and defense for RBNY.
"The last few months, he works very, very hard in trainings and realize more and more what I expect from him in his role like a fullback or wingback or a center back, and this is also for us a big benefit from him that he can play in more positions and he understand right now exactly what we want," Struber said.
Klimala scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season and his third during New York’s unbeaten streak. The Polish striker recorded his second game-winning goal of the year.
"This was a good start to come back and realize the gap is closer, but the next game is for our chest, and have to win, one, one, one, one, one more time and hopefully in the end, with our power, with our energy, with the quality and with the discipline, we can realize our big goal," Struber said.
Davis knows that the growth that has come from the season is starting to show in the results.
"The most important thing is just how much this team and individuals on this team have grown over the year, understanding what it takes to win, and not only the players, but the staff and so, to see that kick in at the right time of the year is a really good feeling," Davis said. "We have put ourselves in a good position, but we know that we have to continue to win. That is the most important thing and huge matchup next week and that is what we have to be prepared for now."