Head Coach Jesse Marsch said that his halftime message to the team was just about “giving a little more.”
Marsch and the Red Bulls rallied for two goals in the second half to spoil Atlanta United FC’s MLS debut with a 2-1 road victory on Sunday night.
“We talked about it at halftime just giving a little bit more, being a little bit clearer tactically, making a couple adjustments but being a little bit sharper physically, putting more into the game and now taking the crowd out play by play,” Marsch said. “I thought for the most part, in the second half the effort was really good, obviously, a great comeback and a lot of spirit within the team.”
“We've got to come out in the second half and have courage to play, go after them more, be a little more physical and someone has to step up and make a few plays," Kljestan said.
New York scored off a corner kick mid-way through the second half, with Daniel Royer heading home a Kljestan kick. They went on top after a Kemar Lawrence drive deflected off Bradley Wright-Phillips and an Atlanta defender in front of more than 55,000 fans at Bobby Dodd stadium.
“Maybe the atmosphere, the quality of the opponent, it just felt like a playoff game,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “Nonetheless, it's a great way to start the season.”
Robles said the win is something the Red Bulls can build off of moving forward.
“Obviously there's a long way to go until we get to our peak performance, but I think there are a lot of good things we can take away,” Robles said. “More importantly, the best thing we can take away is our will to win and our will to keep fighting.