The New York Red Bulls concluded their preseason stage in Tucson with a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. Florian Valot and Cristian Cásseres Jr. scored the goals for the Red Bulls.
“We’ll take many positives from the game, especially that we wanted,” said Head Coach Chris Armas after the game. “We stayed in a tough game and varied up some of our pressing, an all out pressing to mid-block pressing. It was interesting to see that each can be effective, and then Kansas City as good as they are, they can challenge both of those tactics.”
Cásseres Jr., whose goal came from the penalty spot, also concluded that the team’s pressing allowed them to create a lot of dangerous chances.
“I saw the team give a good performance,” said Cásseres Jr. “When we went out to press, we all went, and that’s why we got a lot of steals and were able to start many plays that became scoring chances.”
One of the main themes throughout the preseason was to build the togetherness in the team, and Armas feels the win against Sporting KC will help consolidate it.
“We're a young team, but we are together,” he said. “Today we showed that in a big way, against a good team that's been together for quite some time and added some interesting pieces. We thought we were able to create some chances, especially out of transition, and we limited many of the big chances. So, the group feels really good, nice way to wrap up our preseason.”
After officializing his contract renewal, the Venezuelan midfielder worked hard to give his first stellar performance of the year.
“Happy to get the assist and goal, which are the first ones I contribute to the team this year,” said Cásseres Jr. “It was a play that was there, and the first thing that I thought was to send the ball to the far post. Flo [Valot] got to the ball and with his technique, he was able to score.”
Armas left the match pleased with what he saw and feels that Saturday’s victory sets the team in great position ahead of their MLS home debut.
“When you see Kyle Duncan play so well, Tim Parker step up, and Sean Davis with a solid 90 minutes, just as Cristian,” he said. “You start looking around, and a lot of guys are having good performances, understanding what we're doing. It really starts to help, and you can start piecing things together, so there's always work to do. We feel good with a week left going into our home game.”
Ryan Meara update
“He's had such a good preseason from a quality standpoint, playing level, and a leadership standpoint, so it's for that it's always a tough one, but [injury] seems to be minor,” said Armas.