The Red Bulls probably will need at least one goal celebration from Bradley Wright-Phillips to go through. (Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
It this cut and dried for the Red Bulls:
If they want to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final, they will have find the net at least one and most likely keep Chivas off the scoresheet in the second leg at Red Bull Arena Tuesday night.
New York returns home to a one-goal disadvantage after last Wednesday’s defeat in Guadalajara. The Red Bulls certainly aren’t out of it, but they know they have to play a well-balanced game against their Mexican foes. They have to attack and try for the equalizing goal without giving up much in the back.
“It’s being able to manage defensively now and keep a clean sheet and try to score as many goals as we can,” midfielder Tyler Adams said.
Added striker Bradley Wright-Phillips: “I think it’s going to be a tough game. I think one thing we do know is that we’ve got to win. We have to win the game. We’re going to go for it.”
The hosts enter the 8 p.m. showdown confident they can get a result that will boost them into the final against the winner of the Toronto FC-Club America series.
The Red Bulls will advance with a two-goal victory — or greater — or via a 1-0 win in the second leg, followed by a shootout victory Chivas can advance with a win, draw and potentially a one-goal loss if the visitors score an away goal to win the tiebreaker.
“With us going home, we’re going to be a bit more confident than ever because we know we’re hard to stop when we’re at home, playing high possession, high attacking football,” Adams said at the team’s training facility in Hanover, N.J. Saturday. “We’re going to create a lot of chances.
“Coming back home we’re going to be more confident. Wer’re coming to be comfortable. We have a lot of quality attacking players and we know we’re going to put one away.”
The Red Bulls better if they want to move on. The man who has been their CCL scoring standout has been Wright-Phillips, who has three goals and as many assists in five games. He was blanked in Guadalajara.
BWP was heartened by the fact the Red Bulls shut down the Goats in their place, except for the home side connecting off that Adams’ first-half mistake.
“Credit to them, they got a result,” he said. “We went up there. We weren’t at our best, but I don’t remember them creating too many chances. I think at home we’re going to create more. I just think we have to be good on the day. I don’t think there’s too much to think about. We know what they have to offer.”
The Red Bulls don’t except Chivas to change much, if anything, except for inserting Carlos Salcido, long-time Mexican international, for suspended defender Jair Pereira, who is sitting out a two-match ban for his choke-hold on midfielder Sean Davis last week.
“I expect them to play as they always do, away and home,” Marsch said. “It’s one of the things they talk about. And that’s what reminds me of us. They will come here. They will be combative. They will play man-to-man. They will be aggressive to press. They will play the same way they always do.
“So, the key for us is to take some situations and some matchups and see if we can take advantage and put more things a little bit more on our terms with the ball. Going down, we knew it was going to be a really tough place to play and we knew we had to be really smart about our approach. Now we’ll have some adjustments to make to be a little bit more advantageous on the attack.”
Adams agreed with his coach.
“I don’t think they’re a team that is going to come here and want to sit back and try to waste time,” he said. “Obviously, they are going to have savvy moments and they’re going to want to manage the game in the right way. But they’re a team that hasn’t changed their style in the amount of games we’ve watched in the season.
“So, they’re technical man to man, high press, high-tempo soccer. I think they’re going to bring it here and do similar things.”