The New York Red Bulls have little to no margin for error left after Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at Chivas Guadalajara in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League semifinal series. But they retain ample hope of advancement, head coach Jesse Marsch said postgame.
“We could’ve been a little bit more opportunistic and a little bit sharper in making some plays in the final third,” said Marsch at Estadio Akron, “but against a really good Chivas team, in a really tough place to play, I think only being down one goal is a good result for us and we'll go back to Red Bull Arena and be ready to push the game there.”
With a sellout crowd of more than 40,000 on hand (Chivas dropped ticket prices as low as US$5.50) to cheer on a talented Chivas side, RBNY elected for a safety-first tactical approach marked by direct play and emphasis on set pieces. It nearly earned them a road draw, only for Rodolfo Pizarro and Isaac Brizuela to exploit a Tyler Adams turnover for the game-winner.
“Tyler’s a great player and he has a great future ahead of him,” said Marsch of his 19-year-old Homegrown phenom. “When you coach young players, you have to have patience at times and you have to understand that they're not going to make every decision perfectly. They’re not going to make every play perfectly, but Tyler is a big player for us and I guarantee you that he will respond in the second leg in a big way.”
Bradley Wright-Phillips had a good chance to level the score and snatch a precious away goal in the game’s latter stages, only to be denied by a solid one-on-one save from Chivas goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota.
“If we score that goal, then we get out of here feeling really good about the result and feeling like the game went as planned,” said Marsch. “A little unfortunate for us, but a big save, and we don’t get our away goal. But we'll be ready at Red Bull Arena to really push things.
“Over the years at Red Bull Arena, our record is very good. Our goal differential is very good. It’s a place we love to play. We know there will be a lot of Chivas fans there. Obviously we would have liked to have gotten a road goal but this is halftime right now, medio tiempo. We’ve got a lot to play for yet and our team will be ready, and I know Chivas will, too.”
RBNY host the second leg on Tuesday (8 pm ET | Univision Deportes, go90.com).