After dropping the first leg in the Eastern Conference Championship on Sunday, the New York Red Bulls have focused on turning the page and improving on their mistakes, in order to come away with a win at Red Bull Arena to advance to the MLS Cup.
Down 3-0 on aggregate to Atlanta United, the Red Bulls must score three goals, while shutting out Atlanta, in order to force extra time, with a chance to advance.
Even though it'll be a challenge, the confidence of the club has not wavered following Sunday's loss.
"We feel good," defender Michael Amir Murillo said. "If we give one hundred percent and all of the team is completely aligned, we feel as if we can get the results that we need. Obviously, it is not ideal, but we know what this team is capable of and what we are able to do out there on Thursday in order to advance.”
Having played with their backs against the wall, most recently in their previous playoff matchup with Columbus, the players feel confident in their ability to get the result they seek, especially at home.
"All season at home we have been so good," midfielder Alex Muyl said. "I think that is what we draw confidence from. You know you have your back against the wall, I think that this year we have been very good. "Obviously we don’t want to be in this position, but we can use that to our advantage and know that we have been good in these situations before.”
The Red Bulls won a franchise record 14 games at Red Bull Arena, and have not allowed a goal since August 5 against LAFC. New York knows they have to be more aggressive come Thursday, but also lean on the fact that they have had success against Atlanta at Red Bull Arena this season, defeating the club 2-0, back in late September.
“I think it is pretty clear that we have to come out and be aggressive and try and get on the front foot as early as possible," Muyl said after training. "The task isn’t going to be easy, but it is clear at least, and at home where we have been very good, and we have shown that we can beat them."
The challenge has been set for this Red Bulls squad, they know what they have to do to advance, and although people on the outside may be counting them out, there is still belief among each other that they can get the job done.
"The belief in ourselves as a group is unbelievable," Muyl said. "After the game we were upset, but you come in today and you can see the look on people’s faces, nobody is defeated, no one thinks this is the end for us, so I think that is the biggest strength we have right now, and hopefully one goal goes in and things start to roll.”