With the Leg 2 against Columbus Crew SC kicking off on Sunday night, the Red Bulls are preparing for a game they know they must win in order to keep their MLS Cup pursuit alive.
Having not scored a goal on the road, and now needing a 1-0 win to go into extra time and penalty kicks, or a 2-0 win, which would help the Red Bulls advance, Head Coach Chris Armas believes there’s no pressure to score early, but the team will be ready to go once the opening whistle sounds off.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure to score early,” Armas said. “These games can be lost in the first 15 minutes, not won. We, in a calculated way will go at this but we’ll make sure we’re ready to fly when the whistle blows.”
One thing Armas wants his club to focus on come Sunday is not letting any plays slip away on both ends, against a Columbus Crew squad looking to upset the Red Bulls at home.
“With Columbus, like any team, you can’t let plays slip,” Armas said. “You have to be alert all the time on every play. When we have the ball, when we don’t have the ball, dead plays, set pieces, things like that. I think we know them well in ways that can hurt us.”
The Red Bulls notched 14 shutouts and 22 wins at Red Bull Arena during the regular season, which bodes well for the confidence of the club, knowing that they’ve played so well at home, and are capable of getting the shutout they seek.
“When thinking about RBA, it’s a building where we’re comfortable,” Armas said. “There’s just something about playing at home, sometimes you can put your finger on it, sometimes you can’t, but our fans show up. It’s a comfort that they give us, it’s the feel, the space, the grass, the whole bit. We’re good at home, and we’re comfortable with putting up shutouts at home, that’s the goal.”
The Red Bulls have played with their backs against the walls before and responded well, and come Sunday, Armas know the club will be ready for the task at hand to save their season.
“We’ve been in some moments, been in some big games,” Armas said. “Whether it’s deep Open Cup runs or Champions League as we had this year. The team is ready to go out there on Sunday and put everything into the game. We are ready for this.”