WASHINGTON — After a chaotic, dramatic victory over their original rival, the New York Red Bulls look to climb another rung in the Eastern Conference table when they visit New York City FC Saturday (7 PM ET | ESPN2, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) at Yankee Stadium.
Short turnaround or not, goalkeeper Luis Robles promises the Red Bulls will be ready for their second Heineken Rivalry Week fixture in four days.
"Tonight, as we were looking at the standings before the game, the teams in front of us, Atlanta, Philadelphia, D.C. United and New York City, they’ve been class all year," Robles said following the Red Bulls' 2-1 win over D.C. United at Audi Field Wednesday night. "And if we want to be one of those teams that makes a deep run, those are the teams that we have to beat. And these are the games that we have to win."
The Red Bulls are now in fourth, swapping places with D.C. in the table and currently holding a two-point advantage over their Atlantic Cup foes. They could climb to third with a win at Yankee Stadium, which would pull them even with third-place NYCFC on points and above their New York Derby rivals on wins.
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"With the new scheduling and new playoffs, and everything being congested this summer, I don’t think anyone has any excuses," Robles said.
Red Bulls manager Chris Armas' squad earned Wednesday's result while engaging in some modest squad rotation, with striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, fullback Kemar Lawrence and centerback Tim Parker all beginning on the bench.
Parker came on earlier than Armas' initial plans, entering at halftime as a tactical adjustment after Amro Tarek picked up his second yellow card moments before the break. Still, that trio should be available for more extended use Saturday. Striker Brian White, who also missed Wednesday's game with an ankle injury, could also potentially return after he was listed as questionable on the midweek injury report.
"We take one game at a time, but we do plan a little bit," Armas said. "As soon as you make plans, things have to change. We had a little bit of a plan going into the weekend. It will be modified a little bit which is not a problem.
"We’ll be smart how we go at that game. We know that guys have logged a lot of minutes this week."
As for those who will approach the 180-minute rivalry double? In some ways, the added physical demands might actually help players maintain the composure they need on what can be exceptionally emotional occasions, Armas said.
"That game is going to require high energy, at the same time concentration and experience," Armas said of the showdown with NYCFC. "But we’ll be up for that. Those games, you have to almost calm the guys down and the emotion will be used to focus and be in on every play. In those games, like tonight, you can’t let the details slip."