The New York Red Bulls are primed for a rematch with the New England Revolution.
After dropped their first matchup of the year, with New York missing some key players in Foxborough, the series shifts to Red Bull Arena, where the Red Bulls have never lost to the Revolution.
“With our field there’s definitely more space to play. They’re going to have a more difficult job of staying compact, but that goes for us as well," Captain Luis Robles said following training on Thursday. "Every opportunity that we get to play at Red Bull Arena we want to get three points, we want to entertain or fans, we want to get a win, we want to put points on the table. Yet we’re playing against a team that needs points. I’m not sure where they stand on the table, but I’m sure they’re in the playoff picture. They’ve been a good team. They’re a team that has been in every single game, they fight hard on the road and of course there’s always the added history when you play against New England. I know it’s not just going to be a regular game for us in the same way that we have to approach it the right way. And if we don’t approach it the right way they’ll punish us.”
Coming into the match, the Red Bulls sit in third place in the East, with 35 points through 18 matches. The Revs have 28 points through 20 matches under new Head Coach Brad Friedel.
Red Bulls gaffer Chris Armas said he thinks Friedel has really energized the New England squad, with a similar look and feel to how New York plays the game.
"They work hard, they play together, there’s good energy in that team, but I think what you see most from them is they are combative, they’re vertical. Sounds very familiar," Armas said. "They have a great way about them and a clear style of play."
"They’ve figured out the way they want to play, they’ve carved out a style and they stay true and consistent to that," Robles said. "Their style, from what we’ve seen, closely mimics the way we want to play. We know that we have to be mindful of their tendencies and not play into it.”
Following a midweek 2-1 loss at Minnesota United, the Revolution will be coming into Red Bull Arena hungry for a win.
"They could’ve scored a bunch of goals, they put a lot of pressure on Minnesota and they were the aggressors for most of the night," Armas said. "They’ll be ready to play. They’ve bounced back on short rest many times and if you start thinking they won’t be ready, or might come with tired legs, or they’re going to rotate players too much I think you set yourself up in a bad way. We’ll be ready on our end to expect a tough match against a conference rival and a team that’s always up for it and same with us."
Heading into the second part of the season, securing three points at home is key for Robles and the Red Bulls.
"It’s an Eastern Conference opponent, we’re in the back end of the season, all these points matter," Robles said. "We know that they came off of a tough loss midweek and they traveled here. I feel like that’s going to bring a little more bite to the game because they understand what’s at stake and the points that they need to get. We know that we’re going to go against a combative team, a team that fouls a lot, a team that loves to hit us on the counter and if we’re not up for it, then it’s going to be a field day for them."
Tyler Adams, one of the players who missed the earlier meeting, is ready for it.
“They have a good team," Adams said. "I'm excited to get into a game like this, obviously a really combative game, one that they always get up for and they are going to want to come to Red Bull Arena like any other team and snag three points. Obviously, a little bit of an upset [Wednesday] night in Minnesota, so that gives them more motivation to get a result."