The New York Red Bulls finished the regular season on a 2-4-1 skid that helped push them towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference postseason bracket and forces them to play most or all of their Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs campaign away from home, starting with their Round One visit to the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, Oct. 20 (3 pm ET | FS1 in US; TVAS2, TSN4 in Canada).
So not too many are picking the 2018 Supporters’ Shield winners to make a deep run this fall. And for head coach Chris Armas, that means RBNY have them just where they want them.
“The good news, guys,” Armas told his team as they returned to training this week, “is that we love this time of year and everyone’s counting us out. It’s all there for us. We just know that when that whistle blows in a few weeks, it is game on. And for me, that’s the beauty.”
Philly and the Red Bulls split their season series, with each side holding serve on home turf. Armas sounds bullish on his squad’s ability to rise to the occasion in a win-or-else situation, and impose themselves both tactically and psychologically with their energetic pressing and transitions, particularly in cooler weather conditions.
“I am confident, because I know who we are and who we can be,” he said. “When we are at our best we are pretty hard to beat, which requires concentration and alertness and energy and sticking to what we want to do and who we are. We watch, in training, our guys compete … everything is usually involving competition. And the internal competition in our team is strong, it’s high.
“Listen, our guys will be ready to throw everything at Philly, and Philly will be ready. And we’ll enjoy that, we’ll want it that way. So all of us are up for it, we’re excited for it and we love this time of year.”