That's when they play a massive road match against Atlanta United (2 pm ET | FOX in US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) that's likely been circled on their calendars for some time.
The midweek loss was costly with two key players, Michael Murillo and Kaku, exiting the match with red cards, making them ineligible for the Sunday showdown. Murillo received a second yellow in the 85th minute, and Kaku was sent off with a straight red deep into stoppage time, engaging in extracurriculars with Dynamo defender Maynor Figueroa following Alberth Elis' exclamation-point goal.
Reflecting on the loss, Red Bulls coach Chris Armas felt the disciplinary issues marred any of the positives they could have taken from Houston.
"Guys stuck together, guys didn't quit," Armas said of the effort. "Even at that point, it's humid, it's hot, there's a lot going against us. That was a positive. We take a second yellow card with Murillo, we're not focused at that point, and then, with Kaku, and Figueroa, [Figueroa] instigates, he stomps on Kaku's foot after the goal, and Kaku retaliates, so he gets a red card.
"So what would have been a silver lining there, the way the team stuck together and fought through to the end — which we did, we didn't back down — we walked away feeling very negative. We lose the game, they score another goal, and two guys are out for the next game, which is a big game for us on Sunday. So, not too many positives."
Armas put the loss into perspective, though.
"We'll get back to work. Right away, after the game becomes before the game," he asserted. "We'll start getting ready for Atlanta. The immediate message is to win games in this league, to win games on the road, to win games when you're missing players, to win games when things are not easy, tough moments ... it takes discipline, it takes execution. There's no real tactical ploy that gave us trouble. We made mistakes, we made errors — collectively. All of us. That's the message ... it takes team efforts, and individual efforts, me included."
RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles expressed discontent with the result, telling media members after the match, "There's a lot going through my mind. The first emotion I feel is embarrassment. for the fans, they spent their hard-earned money to come and watch us. The performance we put on tonight is not what they deserved. Any one of our supporters, send your ticket stub to the front office, I'll pay you back, I promise."
Robles credited Houston for their attackers being able to thrive in the hot and humid conditions, but said the loss was on the squad's failure to execute.
"Overall, as a team, it wasn't good from us," he said. "It has to get better. I know it will get better. I'm very optimistic that it will get better, but right now, I feel embarrassed. I don't like giving up goals, let alone four goals in a match."
He emphasized, echoing Armas, that "putting this behind us" is the most important thing the Red Bulls can do to prepare for Atlanta, but he also thinks there are lessons to be learned from the match.
"It's one thing to lose the game; it's another thing entirely to handle it the way that we did," Robles said. "We're professionals here, and we have to be mature about our decisions and what we do. It's just one game. It's a loss. We miss out on three points but we can't hurt ourselves by making some decisions that we made. We just have to put it behind us and get ready for a really good Atlanta team."