Derrick Etienne, Jr. celebrates his goal with Daniel Royer. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The last time the Red Bulls won here Bruce Arena was coach, Jesse Marsch was still toiling for Chivas USA and George W. Bush was still in the White House.
Now, that’s a while ago.
The Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids snapped a six-game winless streak at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as they won here for the first time since John Wolyniec tallied the winning goal in a 1-0 victory July 8, 2007.
The result evened the Red Bulls’ road record to 2-2-0 as both wins were far away from home. New York won at the LA Galaxy last month.
“I think our confidence is really high right now,” said forward Derrick Etienne, Jr., who scored the Red Bulls’ second goal. “We understand how we’ve grown as a team. In years past we might have crumbled in this game, but we showed our resilience to come in and solidify and close out the game. I think the confidence is very high and it’s something that we want to keep going.”
Playing a demanding sport such as soccer a mile high can be demanding as former Red Bulls teams and other MLS sides can attest.
“I thought it was a really professional performance for our group and something that we should be really proud of,” midfielder Sean Davis said. “Coming here is never easy at elevation. They are a good team too and I’m really proud of the effort that the guys put in.”
While the Red Bulls grabbed an early 1-0 lead on Daniel Royer’s goal, the visitors were winded in the opening half.
“Elevation winds up being a huge opponent whenever you come here because you never have enough time to adapt and you have to find ways to dig in and make plays,” Marsch said. “The first half got the best of us, the fatigue got to us and then our ability to see plays, make plays off the ball and connect plays was almost impossible, so we were on our heels a bit in the first half. In the second half we made a formational change and I think it helped the game. We didn’t have to do so much dirty running side to side.”
Marsch was heartened by the team’s resolve and ability to take home three points.
“I think that the group has belief in themselves and in each other,” he said. “We know that we have a good group. We know that we have a group of players that can fit the way we want to play. We have good mentality and we have good leaders and I think it’s still growing into itself. I really believe we still have a long way to go to be the team that we can be. The good part is that we are finding ways to get wins and we are finding ways to manage moments. Wins on the road always feel good especially when guys had to empty the tank and give everything they had. Those always feel good and they give you momentum and that is important heading into next weekend.”
That can be regarded as a challenge in itself as the Red Bulls will visit Atlanta United FC.