HARRISON, N.J. – It was far from their best performance, but the New York Red Bulls still managed to display one of their best attributes on the night.
After falling two goals behind a struggling-yet-talented Chicago Fire squad, it looked as if New York would suffer the same fate that had befallen them in Illinois just over two weeks prior. But the Red Bulls managed to flip the script, overturning the deficit before halftime before notching the game winner in the second stanza for a 3-2 win at Red Bull Arena, extending their home winning streak to six games in the process.
“I wasn’t that bothered, to be honest,” midfielder Sacha Kljestan said of the early deficit. “I felt a lot of belief within the team. The reaction from everybody was really good. We started to press the game and within a couple of minutes we had that goal and after that first goal the belief grew.”
Coming off of an 11-day break, some of the momentum gained from their derby win over D.C. United had perhaps worn off as the Red Bulls looked flat to start the match. But even after conceding twice in the first half, the “all in” mantra took over as the side rallied to collect all three points, a feat they hadn’t accomplished since a 3-2 victory over the Portland Timbers on August 19, 2012.
“We don’t give up,” forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “We’re a team of honest guys; there are no superstars. We just try to work hard and today that came through for us.”
While it would have been understandable for the home side to be shell-shocked after once again failing to contain Chicago’s danger men, heads never dropped as the Red Bulls dug deep to keep their Supporters’ Shield dreams well and truly alive. Now first in MLS in points per game, the Red Bulls sit three points behind pace setters Vancouver Whitecaps with two games in hand.
“We’re a very strong willed team,” defender Matt Miazga told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously going down two-nil at home is a little devastating, but we knew had it in our locker to eventually get the win. We didn’t plan on doing it this way, but it happens in football.”
While the win showcased some of their weaknesses, the team’s resiliency is one trait that head coach Jesse Marsch will hang his hat on. With adversity sure to come their way come playoff time, the will and fight showed by this Red Bulls squad bodes well for the future.
“We actually had a meeting this week where we talked about the belief within the group,” Marsch said. “We knew that we were going to be tested down the stretch. This is good preparation for what games can be like in the playoffs because you can find yourself with goal deficits, you can find yourself up to goals and things can change quickly.
“It’s important for our team to deal with adversity the right way and never stop. We did that moment after moment. We found a way to get ourselves back in the game and earn the three points.”