The New York Red Bulls are ready to face themselves.
“I think they are a little bit of a mirror image of us," Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of the New England Revolution. "They look to press, they look to play in the other team’s end, they look to force mistakes and force turnovers and then capitalize on them. They’ve done a very good job of it."
The two clubs meet up on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We’ll make sure that, tactically, we have a game plan to minimize the things that they try to achieve, and try to maximize what we think we can achieve, and go up there and make sure that mentally we’re up for a real battle, which will be fun," Marsch said.
The Red Bulls enter the match with 22 points through 11 matches, while New England has 19 points through 13 games played. New York is 3-2-0 on the road in 2018 MLS play.
“I think the guys now know that we can get results on the road," Marsch said. "It’s not that it wasn’t that before, but I think there is a real urgency to try to be successful, to try to find ways to gain an edge, to try to find a way to get wins. And knowing what that means when you look at the table in the Eastern Conference and how close it is and how vital each point is. The mentality has been the key more than anything else. It’s been the mentality to go on the road and find ways to be successful."
Since 2013, the Red Bulls are just 2-3-1 in Foxborough. New York, however, won back-to-back road matches against the Revolution last season, earning a hard-fought 3-2 league win at Gillette and then a 1-0 victory at Jordan Field on the campus of Harvard in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup.
"I think we’re up for the challenge but we know it’s not an easy place to go," Danny Royer said. "I’m thinking of the away games we had last season. They were pretty tough and pretty intense, so we know what to expect. It might not be the prettiest football game ever, but we know that and we have to be up for the challenge. We know that it’s going to be competitive, we have to run a lot, and cover a lot of ground. Next week is going to be intense, but we’re ready.”
The battle ahead will not be easy, but the Red Bulls know how to approach it.
"They can compete everywhere, all over the field, and that makes them dangerous," Sean Davis said. "Those little battles can make a huge difference in a game like this. We know that going into that game we’re going to have to be very focused, very up for it and like I said, be ready to compete for absolutely everything."
Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has served as captain for the last two matches, feels the same.
"Every time we play against them it is a battle," Wright-Phillips said. "I think that is the one team that we prepare for battle wise during the week because that team it is not really about football, it is about winning the battle and three points come after."