After two away games, the New York Red Bulls are back at Red Bull Arena to host D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union. Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium left a lot of positive takeaways, and the team hopes to build off them as they play back-to-back home games this week.
“I think it was a smart play to rotate the lineup,” said defender Aaron Long about the game against New England. “We had a lot of fresh legs out there, a lot of younger guys, a lot of hungry guys, and I think it showed. I think a lot of the young guys played extremely well and to come out of there with a point, it's a tough place to play, it's a tough place to get points. I think we had a good showing on the day, so if we can just piggyback off that and now be back at home and get three points, we're going to be in a good spot.”
Goalkeeper Ryan Maera, who has started all games since the team returned from the MLS is Back Tournament, believes D.C. United can be a dangerous opponent to play even if their recent results have been negative.
“Anytime we play D.C., it definitely means a little more,” said Meara. “I think since this restart has happened, these past three games have all been against our rivals, so in that aspect we've been up for all these games and tomorrow night will be no different. I know we need to win, we've got two games now without a win, so that's always most important no matter who we're playing, and D.C. they've been on a bit of a bad run of form, but they'll be desperate for sure.
“Sometimes a desperate team is the most dangerous team, so listen, we got to be up for the challenge tomorrow. It's always a physical game against them, just like it is against all our other rivals -- NYCFC, Philly, New England -- so hopefully we can build off the performance in New England the other day.”
Long highlighted the fact that they’ve had success against their rivals in their last ten meetings. The Red Bulls are unbeaten against D.C. United over the last 10 matches (5-0-5).
“I think another thing you got to consider is that we haven't lost to them in quite a few meetings now, and I think that that's on their mind,” said the USMNT captain. “They've made it vocal in their locker room that they're not going to lose to us again, so they're going to come out with a lot of intensity, they're going to treat this like a rivalry game. So we got to be up for the challenge, and they still have a lot of talented attackers. They've added some new pieces, so it's going to be a different look than we're used to, but it's going to be a very tough game.”
Head Coach Chris Armas confirmed that Samuel Tetteh and Dru Yearwood will be considered for selection for both upcoming home matches.
“Yes, they will be considered for selection. We just got them into training officially with the team as of yesterday, so we're trying to assess quickly where they're at physically,” said Armas. “In terms of their quality, you can see that each of those guys has something, Samuel [Tetteh] is very powerful in the final third, he can get off shots, and we think that makes him a bit different in that part of the field. The fitness has to come along, and then the speed at which we do things in terms of style of play, so there's a little bit of a learning curve but we're going to fast track those guys.
“Dru [Yearwood], you could see that even for a young guy, his presence on the field and his leadership, he also brings something different in that part of the field, which is really interesting. So both guys for sure fit in right away, and they got thrown up in front of the room and had to introduce themselves a little bit of a team ritual there. You can see that our scouting department has done a nice job to bring in good people, and some quality players.”