HANOVER, N.J. – The first leg of their Concacaf Champions League semifinals matchup, a 1-0 loss at Chivas Guadalajara, may not have produced an ideal result for the New York Red Bulls, but they nevertheless liked the way they played and much of what they did in the match.
Now with the return leg on Tuesday night at Red Bull Arena, the home side wants to play the same way, but get a different result (8 pm ET | Univision Deportes, go90.com).
The first leg was far from a perfect game from New York, as they had trouble in their build-up, winning second balls and maintaining possession. But overall, they kept their shape and frustrated the Mexican side, employing a specific mindset and game plan to limit Chivas in the final third to good effect.
Over the weekend forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said that in the first leg, the Red Bulls weren’t “at our best” in terms of precision. He said he’s unsure if Chivas will park the bus at Red Bull Arena, or move aggressively to finish off the series.
“I don’t really know how they’re going to come and play. It’s not for me to know,” Wright-Phillips said. “I think it is going to be a tough game, one thing we do know is we have to win, we have to win the game. We have to go for it.”
Despite being on the road, in a hostile environment and at high altitude, the Red Bulls played their trademark style at Estadio Akron last Wednesday. They pressed and counter-pressed, clogged up passing channels in the final third and limited one of the hemisphere’s most dynamic attacks.
RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch expects to play the same way at home, much like he expects Chivas to stick to their attack-minded identity despite being on the road.
“It was a very deliberate tactic that we used. They are strict man-to-man, it’s a very interesting team to play against. They’re very motivated to lock into guys and win their duels and win their battles. It’s a team that, if you get caught trying to play through the midfield too much, they can punish,” Marsch said.
“On the day, in their place, we tried to eliminate much of that tactic. If we could have managed to turn some of our second-ball situations into a little bit sharper play, maybe we could have created. But we really didn’t give much away and I think to go down there and limit their chances was really good. Now with a 1-0 deficit, we should feel strongly that coming back to Red Bull Arena that we’re going to be aggressive, and we’re going to find our chances and find a way to take care of this series.”
RBNY vs Chivas Tickets