Daniel Royer
USA Today Sports

'Tale of Two Halves' for New York Red Bulls in Kansas City

The New York Red Bulls echoed the same sentiment: It was a tale of two halves.

Coming out in the first half, the Red Bulls self-identified that they were playing flat, they were not playing their usual brand of soccer, and it was showing.

"The first half, maybe we were a bit nervous. I’m not sure. We weren’t really looking like us," Luis Robles said. "We weren’t imposing our will."

But the second half was a different story.

"In the second half, our response was amazing," Robles said.

Heading into halftime down a goal, New York rallied to take the lead before giving up a late equalizer to come out of Kansas City with one point.

"We felt it was two different halves for us," Head Coach Armas said. "We were a little bit late to plays. Some of our pressing, and some of our defensive posture in the first half, we let get away from us."

Daniel Royer praised Sporting for their talent, calling them "one of the best teams in the league," but was impressed with how the Red Bulls responded in the second half.

"In the second half, we looked like us," Royer said. "I think we also found more spaces, or [Kansas City] gave us more space in behind, and in front of their backline, and we were able to use them way better than the first half." 

Royer got the Red Bulls on the board with a long run and quick move around Tim Melia, before slotting home New York's opener.

Royer called our the counter-pressing, winning of second balls and playing forward as the key markers of what the Red Bulls want to do on the pitch.

"No matter what we do, with and without the ball, we remain aggressive. No matter what structure we play," Armas said. "When we’re aggressive, things look so different for us. At halftime, we made an adjustment to release our outside midfielders and outside backs in more of an all-out press, which we thought caught them by surprise and certainly helped us be more like us."

New York will look to carry some of the second half momentum forward to another away match, at New England, on Saturday.

"I think the guys are a little down because we felt like we should have walked away with three points and yet we walk away with one," Armas said. "At least it’s a step forward against a very good team. We just have to keep building from here. We stuck together. We grew into the game. Overall, a really good performance."