Bradley Carnell: “We really don’t mind who’s scoring the goals.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
In one of the most astounding and confounding statistics from this unusual and sometimes crazy Major League Soccer season, Red Bulls forwards still haven’t found the net after 10 games.
If that concerns interim head coach Bradley Carnell, he hasn’t let it known.
He doesn’t care who scores for his team, as long as it is a goal.
The Red Bulls will try to score goals and defeat D.C. United when they visit Audi Field Saturday at 7 p.m.
“We don’t mind if [defender] Kyle Duncan gets in the final third and scores another goal,” he said during a Friday conference call with the media. “We really don’t mind who’s scoring the goals.
“We want to create the opportunities and, in my mind, I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating those opportunities. I’d be more worried if we weren’t getting into those areas. However, we are, which is a positive thing and now it’s just a reward. We just have to reward ourselves and be brave and go at it.”
Carnell used Liverpool and Brazilian midfielder-forward Roberto Firmino as an example.
“If you look at a team like Liverpool, Firmino doesn’t set up the [goal], he doesn’t burn the blaze and be the scoring chance,” he said. “We don’t care who scores the goals and where they’re coming from. [The question is] are we creating chances, are we getting in the final third, is it just a shift in momentum, is it a shift in the way of thinking, is it just the belief of you know running to our spots and getting to the good areas?”
Regardless who is scoring goals, New York has tallied but seven in those games. That has translated into a ninth-place showing for the reeling Red Bulls (3-5-2, 11 points) in the MLS Eastern Conference.
As poorly as 10th-place D.C. United (2-4-4, 10) has fared, it can leap frog over the Red Bulls with a win. United registered a 1-0 miracle victory thanks to a goal deep into stoppage time at Red Bull Arena Sept. 2. Last week it held off an onslaught by New York City FC, despite getting outshot, 19-0, to leave Audi Field with a scoreless draw.
“It is emotional, first of all,” midfielder Florian Valot said. “We have to go down there and give them all we got. I think we are going to have to force things. People talk about luck. Luck does not exist. We just have to force things for ourselves and honestly, I am ready to get down there. I am really confident in the work we have put in for this weekend. Yea, pretty confident that we can get a result.”
Entering the game with the proper frame of mind is important to Carnell, especially since United has played ultra-defensively.
“It’s about our mentality, it’s about how we go about it, whether we play at home or away from home,” he said. “There’s no changing in our principles and we need to address the game in a slightly different manner barring their defensive posture. They want to get organized. They wanted to sit back and drop off and try and get us on the counter.
“It’s for us to come up with a game plan and counter that plan. We have a good plan in place and we’re excited about going at the game. We’ve had a couple more days with the team now just to restore the energy, restore the belief and get these guys scoring plenty goals in training. That’s been a positive effect.”