The New York Red Bulls lost their last group stage match against FC Cincinnati 2-0 on Wednesday night. After starting the MLS is Back Tournament with a 1-0 win over Atlanta United, the Red Bulls leave Orlando with two straight defeats.
Captain Sean Davis and Head Coach Chris Armas shared their thoughts after the loss, and what are the areas the team will work on their return home.
“We knew exactly what this game was going to look like. Us as players, we have to take responsibility. We weren’t sharp enough,” said Davis. “We didn’t find enough solutions against their block and then they created one or two chances and capitalized. That’s exactly what they wanted, and we again, I sound like a broken record because I said this last time, but we have to take a hard look in the mirror. This has to hurt, it has to hurt each and every one of us. It has to hurt us enough to change and just be better. We have to be better and we have to start by holding each other accountable and take responsibility.”
Armas, who made all five substitutions on Wednesday night by giving minutes to Brian White, Tom Barlow, Jared Stroud, Ben Mines and Marc Rzatkowski off the bench, understands the frustration in the locker room because everyone wants to win.
“Sometimes there’s natural frustration, which you talked about but it’s not so easy all the time to stay with it. You have to keep pushing and methodically go after it. So, we have to grow in that department, and they’re frustrated because they want to win,” said Armas. “We all want to win. We are used to winning. Anything less than that would be surprising to me. I see a team that’s together. They stuck with it and they pushed the second half. I think there’s no quit in this team.”
One of the aspects to improve will be the maturity inside the team, and it was something both Davis and Armas echoed in their statements.
“I think having maturity,” said Davis. “This is obviously a new tournament for everyone but we’ve been in situations like these before whether that’s CONCACAF Champions League or U.S. Open Cups. We have to be more mature as a team. We have to understand what teams are throwing at us and be able to adjust. At the end of the day, being so sharp, so alert that we can handle anything that’s thrown at us. When we make silly mistakes that don’t give us the best chance to win, and that’s not a mature team. I think that’s where we can improve and that’s where as players, we have to take responsibility for that. I think that was evident today and, even for the Columbus game, I think we could have brought better energy. If we adjusted a little bit better to what they were throwing at us, and that’s something [to work on]. That’s what I mean when I say that we can take more responsibility on the field and from within.”
The Red Bulls finished Wednesday night with 19 shots, which included good scoring opportunities for Omir Fernandez and Aaron Long.
“We’ve had success in many ways, so the expectations are high, externally and internally,” said Armas. “What has to happen is that there’s work to do and we’ll have time to do it. We want to win. We’ll get over the hump, but it’s going to take some time. It’s going to take work, and it’s going to take all of us being better. When you talk about winning and losing, it’s a fine line in our league, where most games are one-goal games. The attention to detail, the camaraderie and the team sticking together is our philosophy. A team that is aggressive and goes after games. We’ll get back to work.”