The New York Red Bulls are moving on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Following Wednesday night’s 4-0 rout of the No. 3 seed Chicago Fire at Toyota Park, head coach Jesse Marsch praised New York’s “fearless” performance.
“To get out on the early lead was about mentality and approach and our guys were fearless, they were aggressive, they didn't worry if plays weren't going to go their way, there was a confidence on the field,” Marsch said. “It’s a quiet calmness with this group that I think it is palpable.”
The Red Bulls jumped on Chicago from the start, scoring two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match.
According to midfielder Sean Davis, scoring the first goal was a major focus for New York heading into the Knockout Round.
"We wanted to have a good start, we wanted to score first, and hopefully we will build that momentum and put the game away early,” Davis said. “They're a very good team and to take nothing away from them, their season, their turnaround, but tonight I thought the guys went 11 for 11 on the pitch.
“Every single guy brought it and that's what we need in the playoffs. That's the mentality that is built into us throughout the year and everything came together tonight."
In the second half, New York tacked on two more goals and kept a clean sheet, their third shutout in their last four matches, something Luis Robles said was a great accomplishment against Nemanja Nikolic, MLS’ top scorer.
“A clean sheet of course is nice but I think even if they had scored, that disappointment in that wouldn't necessarily reflect how well we played defensively,” Robles said. “The clean sheet makes a statement that we took care of the Golden Boot winner this year, we limited his opportunities and we got our goals early.”
Although Marsch said his side still has some areas to improve upon ahead of their semifinals matchup with Toronto FC next week, he was proud of the way his team responded in the face of adversity en route to an important victory.
“I thought we had to manage certain parts of the game and we survived moments in the beginning of the second half,” Marsch said. “We hung on and we did that and obviously a big victory for our team, our club, and I am very happy for our guys."