The New York Red Bulls are on the precipice of what seemed unlikely just one month ago.
Now it appears the Red Bulls have transformed from boys to men. It started with a big rebound win, a 4-0 rout of Inter Miami CF on the road on Sept. 17. A second victory over Miami, a 1-0 win Saturday night at Red Bull Arena, extended the club’s unbeaten run to six matches and moved them to within three points of the Eastern Conference's Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line with six matches to play.
"The most important thing is just how much this team and individuals on this team have grown over the year, understanding what it takes to win, and not only the players, but the staff and so, to see that kick in at the right time of the year is a really good feeling," midfielder Sean Davis said after the match. "We have put ourselves in a good position, but we know that we have to continue to win. That is the most important thing and huge matchup next week and that is what we have to be prepared for now."
This match embodied a six-pointer and had the feel of an elimination game. While the Red Bulls inched closer to the playoff line, Miami dropped to 11th place in the East – eight points adrift of seventh-place CF Montréal.
Patryk Klimala scored the lone goal in the critical win over the Herons. Half of his eight goals on the season have come in RBNY's last seven matches.
"We knew that we needed to win the game and our situation would be much better because now we would have three points for the playoffs,” Klimala said. “But we have to just keep going. We have six games left and we want to win all those games.”
Now the Red Bulls shift their focus to their next match – the final Hudson River Derby showdown of the season on Oct. 17 (1 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes). As part of their push to clinch a playoff berth for the 12th consecutive season, the Red Bulls previously took four points from back-to-back matches against New York City FC.
"This was a good start to come back and realize the gap is closer,” Struber said. “But the next game is for our chest, and have to win, one, one, one, one, one more time and hopefully in the end, with our power, with our energy, with the quality and with the discipline, we can realize our big goal.”