After last Thursday’s match against Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference Championship, Head Coach Chris Armas said the team would be hungrier, after not achieving their ultimate goal in becoming MLS Champions.
During the clubs’ end of season media day at Red Bull Arena, many players echoed those same sentiments, and talked about how improving from their record-setting season will be key in finally breaking through and winning the MLS Cup.
"We have to continue to find ways to win these knockout round games, especially against strong teams like Atlanta or Chivas when we played them," midfielder Sean Davis said. "We talk a lot about trying to break down a bunker at times like we had to do in both playoff series and it just comes from the group having a bit more of an edge and I think that’s something that we have to take a hard look at in the offseason to figure out as a team how we can get over that last hurdle, but it’s obviously important to us, and it’s something that we are looking at closely."
Even though the Red Bulls are frustrated with not getting to the MLS Cup Final, forward Bradley Wright-Phillips talked about the club falling short in recent years, but also how he believes the club is close at winning a championship.
“I don’t know,” Wright-Phillips said. “This is what I’ve been thinking the last few days. It’s hard to put your finger on anything. I know that we’re close. Even sitting here now, it annoys me because it seems like it’s every year we are. We’re obviously close. We’ve done too many big things, too close to winning something.”
After making the rounds with the media, forward Danny Royer touched on the Red Bulls having another successful regular season, but needing to find ways to improve in the playoffs.
“You can’t complain about anything in the regular season, we got 71 points,” Royer said. “I think it’s hard to tell the reasons at what we could have done better, but it’s definitely that we can improve in the biggest moments and that’s what it is about, especially in playoffs.”
The Red Bulls are in unison in their belief that they’re close to achieving their first MLS Cup. Sean Davis for one, knows this team just needs to play with a little more of an edge, and how it'll be important to find more consistency in playing the way they know they’re capable of match after match.
“It’s really important for us to take a hard look in the mirror to see what we need to improve on,” Davis said. “We are close, but clearly we’re not quite there yet and we need to take this offseason to reflect and figure out where we’re going to go from here because we do have a lot of great pieces, a lot of great players, the culture in the team is great, so now it’s just about finding that edge and that killer instinct to really push us over the line. When you talk about the Red Bulls, it’s about having a complete performance. It’s important for us to look at that."