Chris Armas: “I believe in the attackers, I believe in those guys.” (Photo courtesy of MLS)
The Red Bulls can’t score. They have only seven goals in nine MLS matches this season.
They can’t score behind the 75th minute. They haven’t done it once this year.
Wednesday night’s game was, in many ways, a microcosm of what has transpired this season on the attack.
Yet, head coach Chris Armas said the team won’t change its pressing style, which hans’t worked out very well this season, compared to what it had in the past.
“Look, who we are will not change,” he said after his team’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United at Red Bull Arena.
“We’re a team that can all-out press. We can defend in a midblock, and you see that teams either bypass it, hit long balls, hit big diagonals like in New England or sit back like Cincinnati and even D.C. tonight, sit back and look to counter. We understand now that it’s pretty straightforward. We’re going to see how good we can become at playing against a low block and unlocking back lines, and then dealing with transitions and set pieces.”
Incredible as it sounds, Red Bulls forward have failed to score in nine matches this season. Few teams, if any have gone through a season and won a championship without strikers contributing.
It is one of the reasons why the Red Bulls fell to 3-4-2.
Despite the horrible offensive numbers, Armas defended his forwards.
“I believe in the attackers, I believe in those guys,” he said. “I see that they can hit the back of the net and I think they’re understanding more and more the demands of a game like this. The type of runs you need to make, the type of passes to deliver, the timing of these things, and then when it becomes your chance, can you finish decisively in front of the goal.”
Forward Tom Barlow outshot D.C. in the opening half, 5-2, but did not finish.
“I think that we have guys who can score goals, I know we do,” Armas said. “Tom Barlow, imagine, he gets one that hits the goalkeeper, ricochets off his leg and then he hits the crossbar. We know that Kaku has final passes in him. We know that we have other midfielders that can join in and make plays. We know that other guys can score.”
But when will it happen?
The Red Bulls will try again against the Philadelphia Union at home Sunday night.