The New York Red Bulls will quickly turn their attention to D.C. United for their midweek matchup in the nation's capital.
“We’ll be ready to keep the momentum going," Head Coach Chris Armas said following training on Monday. "Every game is important, and of course, against DC. We know that they’re always a difficult opponent, and in our minds, in a really good way right now, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
The Red Bulls and D.C. United meet up for the first of three matches this season, with the Red Bulls at 38 points through 19 games played and United with 14 points through 16 matches.
Recently, New York's Atlantic Cup rivals added England legend Wayne Rooney to the roster.
"Obviously, adding Rooney makes it always interesting, and a challenge, and we know what he can provide for them," Armas said. "He’s such a good passer in addition to the goals that he can create, so he’s always going to be trouble. They have speed, they have dynamic guys that ride the midfield. They’re in a good way.”
Kaku, who added an assist in the match against the New England Revolution to bring his league-leading total up to 12, knows it is all about securing three points.
"Every team plays differently, so this is just another team and we just have to go out there and play and try to beat them," Kaku said through a translator. "Now that they have Rooney, they’ve been playing much better. The goal is to still get three points.”
And despite their poor record -- 0.88 points per game so far -- Tim Parker knows D.C. is on the upswing, winning once and adding two draws in their last five games.
“They’ve kind of been clicking lately, so we have to be ready for them -- especially at their home field to kind of take advantage of us early on," Parker said. "They’re going to look to come at us and put pressure on us, but we obviously just have to weather that storm and make sure that we can kind of get through that first 15-20 minutes.”
The Red Bulls will also visit Audi Field for the first time, playing in the second-ever match at United's new home.
“They’re always good at home. Their fans really are that 12th man," Armas said. "They’ve been rewarded with major success, so they’re behind the team in a big way. They’re knowledgeable, they’re supportive, so they’ll be behind them. More so, they have such an attacking group that’s dynamic and they have really good balance right now."
Armas said his team will be bringing the full compliment of players to Audi Field, even though the team is playing the second of three games in eight days, including Aaron Long, who was suffering from an illness on Saturday and was subbed out after 65 minutes.
“We have a fit group and we’re healthy, for the most part," Armas said. "We enjoy having a deep roster, we can use a lot of reliable guys that we look to and it actually makes our job a little tougher, but we like this challenge and it’s an opportunity for us to have options to think about, how we can mix things a little bit and still go after it the way we like to.”
The two teams kick off in a midweek clash at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25 on MSG and New York Red Bulls Radio.