Aaron Long celebrates his goal. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — To many, Red Bull is an energy drink.
To Jesse Marsch, it is also a philosophy, at least on the soccer field.
After his squad polished off New York City FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night, the Red Bulls head coach talked about how he and his coaching staff find players with the right mentality to fit into the team’s high-pressure tactics.
“You have to use every moment as a test to try to challenge people to get better and to grow,” he said after the 4-0 triumph at Red Bull Arena.
Marsch used center back Aaron Long, who scored a goal and helped hold the great David Villa scoreless, as an example.
“Ultimately, that feeds into Aaron,” he said. “When Aaron first came here, he was — we knew he was talented and gifted. We believe firmly that if we can get those kind of guys and their mentality is right — the mentality is a big key to a player’s ability to fit in here.”
Let’s face it, the Red Bull’s high-pressure tactics isn’t for every player.
“If we find talented players that have the right mentality, we feel strongly that we can with put them into our system, teach them the tactics of how we play, ingrain the habits and reactions of what we want of how we want them to play and turn them into Red Bull players, help them think, eat, breathe, Red Bull,” Marsch said.
“And I don’t know if I should even say this, but sometimes I call it brainwashing, because when you come here, you have to believe that this is the way to play the game, you have to.
“If you have any doubts or you want to play but you have game and you want to pass the ball around and you want to think all about possessions, this is not your place and it won’t work. You have to buy into who we are and how we do things, and if you do, you are rewarded.
“If you do that, you will you can seed, and we’ve seen is over and over again and Aaron has now turned into a very special player for us, one that we are very proud of.”