ORLANDO, Fla. – Jesse Marsch isn't making any dramatic pronouncements about his New York Red Bulls team, despite the side's early struggles this year after their finish atop the Eastern Conference standings in 2016.
Sunday's 1-0 reversal at Orlando City SC made it three defeats in the last four games for the Red Bulls, but Marsch insisted there was much to like about their performance following 3-1 and 4-1 road defeats at Seattle and Houston, respectively.
“Today, for me, was a big step forward for us, a big step,” Marsch said. “Even more than the result, I felt like that was our team. It looked like us, it felt like us, the spirit of the team was good, the commitment on the field, and the ability to smother them in possession when we lose the ball.
“So I felt we made big strides in terms of overall performance. Sometimes if you get too caught up in the result, you miss out on what’s actually happened. For me, there were a lot of positives and we’re going to use this momentum to help guide us in the next three games at home, and those points will be really important.”
The lack of goals so far this term – three in the opening brace of wins but only two in the subsequent four – is definitely a concern, but Marsch pointed to several mitigating factors, including a game-time temperature of 80 degrees and an inspired home team.
“I would have liked us to been a little bit more effective on set pieces,” he said. “I would have liked us to be more efficient when we did create chances, because we created some big chances, we just didn’t convert. But I know how this team operates, and I know that when goals come, they come in bunches.
“But we haven’t played in the heat much, so coming down here is a big fitness test, then it’s a tough place to play with the crowd, and we haven’t played that great lately. We’ve had certain moments and little stretches of games where we’ve played okay, but in this game, for the majority of the 90 minutes, we looked like us.”