HANOVER, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls had their first bye of the season this past weekend, but they still managed to hit the pitch in preparation for their matchup in New England.
At the team’s training facility on Friday afternoon, the Red Bulls faced off with local collegiate side Rutgers University to keep the players fresh during their week off from MLS action.
“It wound up being a very good exercise,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “I think we used last week in a really good way. We were just trying to get in some quality minutes to continue our fitness early in the season and to execute a little bit more on the sharpness and tactical details.”
The scrimmage featured a mix of first team regulars as well as rookies and Homegrowns, providing a useful training session for the group in a week that otherwise have gone unused.
“I know it wasn’t a real game at the highest level, but it was a good exercise for all of us,” Mike Grella said. “I think it was important for them to see what it’s like to play in those positions.”
After earning their first win last Saturday, the Red Bulls will be looking to build on their success in their upcoming clash with the Revolution, and the friendly against Rutgers should prove useful to shake off some of the rust that had plagued the attack earlier in the season.
“It was good to push the fitness,” captain Dax McCarty told NewYorkRedBulls.com. “It was good to play a team that maybe is going to sit in a little bit, so we could work on that and how we’re going to deal with teams whether it’s at Red Bull Arena or if that play like that on the road. It was a good exercise for us attacking wise; we scored a couple of goals. We need to be sharper in the attacking third and that was a good game to work on that.”
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