Chris Armas on the fans: “They are not happy. They shouldn’t be.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
HARRISON, N.J. — Chris Armas understands why the Red Bulls supporters are unhappy and are chanting “Fire Armas!”
At a time when it should be gearing up for its stretch drive, the team has put on the brakes. After Saturday night’s 2-0 home loss to the struggling Colorado Rapids, the Red Bulls are a sorry 1-3-1 in their last five games. Moreover, they are not playing well.
“Listen, they are not happy,” Armas said at Red Bull Arena. “They shouldn’t be. Who do they take it out on? They are not going to take it out on each other. They love the players. They blame the person in charge. It’s fair. It’s fair.
What would the play — is that the best thing for the players and the coaches to hear? That doesn’t help, right, but they are frustrated and that comes with it. You know, they support us. They come and they are entitled to be frustrated and voice that opinion.
“Won’t change the way we’re working. But yeah, it’s part of it.”
While it has been a problem trying to fill RBA on a consistent basis — 17,089 showed up Saturday night — the Red Bulls have established themselves as one of the top regular-season teams the last six years. Entering this year, they had won three Supporters Shield crowns, even though they have been playoff failures.
Armas said he did not hear what the fans had to say.
“I was told in the hallway walking through,” he said. “My kids read stuff and they tell me different things along the way. I don’t get caught up in what people think. I was starting for the U.S. National team and people were saying, ‘why is Chris Armas starting for the U.S. national team?’ You can’t let that affect you.
“I think the big thing is that I understand it. It’s part of it. They paid money to come see us play. I’d be pissed off, too, if I watched that performance tonight.”
Red Bulls captain Luis Robles lamented the fact the team has not dominated teams at RBA. They are 8-5-2 there this season, a far cry from years past.
“It was a really disappointing night for us,” he said. “I think when we look at this season, no matter how it plays out, one of the biggest disappointments is going to be the amount of points that we left at home. It does not matter if we play against an Eastern Conference team or a Western Conference team. I have been here since 2012, so I’ve played a lot of games in this arena and won a lot of games, and it just feels every time we play here, we all expect that we are going to get three points.
“Then we are in 2019 and that just hasn’t been the case. We are looking at least 13 or 15 points we have dropped here, because it is our fifth loss of the season. It’s been our fifth loss this season, by far the most, so it is really disappointing.”