Alex Muyl: “I think the most important thing is to not get caught up in last week’s game and, if anything just try and ride the momentum.” (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
In terms of opponents, the Red Bulls will go from the penthouse to the outhouse in only a week.
Last Sunday, the Red Bulls dispatched Supporters Shield-leading Atlanta United with ease en route to a 2-0 triumph at Red Bull Arena.
On Saturday, New York travels some 3,000 miles to take on the San Jose Earthquakes, simply the worst team in all of Major League Soccer.
With the Red Bulls coming off a high and trailing Atlanta by only a point with three games remaining in the season, every point matters. And the Red Bulls have to battle against overconfidence and the dregs of the league.
“I think the most important thing is to not get caught up in last week’s game and, if anything just try and ride the momentum because we want to win the Supporters’ Shield for sure,” midfielder Alex Muyl told reporters at the Red Bulls Training Facility earlier this week. “We have work to do to do that and we also just want finish the season on a high note. I know we’ve broken some records, but I think we want to keep pushing and maybe set some new ones of our own. This game is going be very important and we can’t slip at all.”
Midfielder Sean Davis understood that the 10:30 p.m. game “was a tricky game” for the Red Bulls.
“It was a really great weekend for us, but it’s important that we turn the page as quick as possible and put that behind us,” he said. “Actually, I think that they’re a better team now. Even though they’re out of the playoffs it seems like they’re playing a little more free and they’ve actually had some strong performances despite the results. I think that it’s a tricky game for us for sure and we have to be up from it from the first minute, or else it could turn into a really, really challenging game.”
The Quakes, who reside in 12th and last place in the Western Conference, have accumulated only 20 points thanks to an abysmal 4-19-8 record.
Just how bad are the Quakes? They fired their coach Mikael Stahre Sept. 17, only 10 months after hiring him. That’s how bad. Assistant coach Steve Ralston, a former standout Steve Ralston to direct the team for the remaining of the season.
This is how poorly San Jose has fared this season: even if it sweeps its three remaining matches, the highest it could finish in the West would be in 11th place. That would be 21st overall.
Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas said that “maybe now more than ever, take some of this momentum from this previous game and throw everything we can at San Jose. We feel like we have a lot to lose and a lot to gain. So we’re going there and look to give everything once again.”