Marsch: Red Bulls were "better team" than Chivas despite CCL semifinal loss

HARRISON, N.J. – It was a dominating performance from the New York Red Bulls, who bossed the match and held the run of play in the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League semifinals series against Chivas Guadalajara on Tuesday night.

But their clear edge wasn’t enough, as a 0-0 result at Red Bull Arena ended this team’s run through the tournament.

It was a full-frontal assault from the Red Bulls from the start. After losing the first leg 1-0 in Guadalajara, the Red Bulls didn’t sit back. Instead, they came out raring to even the series from the opening whistle.

A 20-1 advantage in shots, including nine on target, was backed up by the Red Bulls holding about 53 percent of possession. But in front of goal, RBNY struggled to create truly threatening opportunities despite their edge in chances and time on the ball.

“It’s almost impossible, the way the game played out. It’s almost impossible that we can somehow not find a way to score a goal and find a way to be dangerous around the goal all night long, but not make that final play,” head coach Jesse Marsch said.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but I told the team after the game that I was very proud of them, very proud of them. I thought they established themselves in the series as the better team, a very good team. And that this group has a really bright future and I told them I’d go down swinging with them any day, any day. It’s a bitter pill to swallow right now, we had our hopes very high that we could push it over the hump and make a run at this all the way to the end. It hurts to fall short, but we’ll use it the right way.”

The first of many Red Bulls chances came when a Tim Parker shot off a Kemar Lawrence throw-in was deflected out for a corner kick. One minute later, Lawrence’s shot from 18 yards out was pushed away by Chivas goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota. Then in the 11th minute, Sean Davis’ header off a Michael Murillo cross was well saved by Cota, who sprung to his left and fully extended to parry the effort over the bar.

The Red Bulls threw everything at the Mexican side, but couldn’t break through.

BWP takes on Chivas | USA Today Sports Images

While Chivas found their legs a bit in the second half with some more sustained possession and a handful of forays into the final third, the Red Bulls still found their chances. This was true especially when they pressed and counter-pressed down the left side, where Derrick Etienne Jr. and the aforementioned Lawrence found all types of space and opportunities.

Bradley Wright-Phillips played behind Etienne, who was the striker on the night, trading in his usual spot atop the formation for a deeper role as a creator. Wright-Phillips managed just three shots on goal, as he drifted a bit further away from the final third than usual.

“No goal, there was no goal – 20 shots, it doesn’t matter,” the Englishman said. “I don’t want to be too negative on the performance because it was a good performance. But we have to create more and get more clear-cut chances.

“I don’t think we need to better, tonight it wasn’t great. They’re sitting back so it’s always going to be tough to break them down. I feel like if we got the first goal off a half chance, it would open up and there’d be more clear-cut chances.”