HARRISON, N.J. – To help his team get ready for a “must-win” game against the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night, New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe turned to the highlight reel, showing a motivational video prior to the team’s 1-0 playoff-clinching victory against the Philadelphia Union.
“We had a little bit of a different kind of a team talk, made more of a motivational video and things like that – just to change things,” Backe said. “[When the match started] it looked like everyone was very, very sharp. The video was more about individual stuff, motivation.”
It was indeed a change of pace from Backe’s usual tactical discussion, reviewing the opponents’ formations and tendencies. Instead, the coach chose to focus on the positives from an up-and-down season, showing players their best moments over the campaign in an effort to rebuild the team’s psyche.
It seemed to have worked, even if the team needed very little motivation as they faced a “do-or-die” moment.
“There were individual performances and plays on that video,” defender Tim Ream said. “I was in it from the get-go; I didn’t need the video but I think it put a little bounce in our step going out there.”
It certainly seemed so. In just the eighth minute on Thursday night, Dane Richards rose to meet a Jan Gunnar Solli cross and head home the game’s only goal, an effort that originally bounced off the post and then the back of Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón. New York held on despite the Union’s late push for an equalizer, but there is no denying that the strong start helped lift the team.
Richards said that the motivational video “brings tears to my eyes” and his teammates saw a lift in the team’s confidence. With their play and Richards’ goal, the Red Bulls went out and added a highlight on Thursday night for the next video Backe wants to show.
“Of course it’s good to see,” midfielder Joel Lindpere said. “Especially I think it’s most important when the video is of the positive things.”