June 20, 2016
FREQUENT FLIER MILES, ANYONE?
Marsch on upcoming stretch of games: the league 'has done us no favors'
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Jesse Marsch: “Our approach is that as much as we know we’ve been on a run now, we have four straight games on the road if you include the Open Cup. If we stop at all to think that we’re doing great, we can get ourselves in our trouble."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HANOVER, N.J. – This is shaping up to be a tough stretch for the Red Bulls, a crazy fixture schedule that led their head coach Monday to say that the league “has done us no favors.”
Sunday kicked off a two-week stretch where the Red Bulls will play four Major League Soccer matches and the quarterfinal round of the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup, a total of five matches just as summer heats up. Of those five matches, all but one is at home. Frequent flyer miles anyone?
It all starts Wednesday with a match at Real Salt Lake that is followed up three days later at the Columbus Crew. The Red Bulls are flying out to Salt Lake and then will stay on the road, not returning back to the tristate area until after the Crew match in an effort to cut back on too much traveling.
“Our approach is that as much as we know we’ve been on a run now, we have four straight games on the road if you include the Open Cup. If we stop at all to think that we’re doing great, we can get ourselves in our trouble,” head coach Jesse Marsch said Monday following training.
“We have to know that the next two weeks, we have to absolutely dig in, call on a lot of guys. Be ready to step up to the challenge, meet the demands of the schedule – MLS has done us no favors. In all ways, if we stop to feel good about ourselves, we can find ourselves in a losing streak.”
Marsch noted the “environmental elements” including heat and altitude in Salt Lake City, where temperatures there will reach 96 degrees Wednesday
But beyond the environment factoring in there is also some good opposition over the next couple of weeks. RSL is traditionally tough at home and Columbus knocked the Red Bulls out of the MLS Cup playoffs last year. The Philadelphia Union, the opponent next Wednesday in the cup, is atop the Eastern Conference.
Then after the Open Cup comes New York City F.C., a desperate rivalry fixture.
It is a tough stretch of games that can validate in many ways the Red Bulls' recent hot streak, including four consecutive wins in league play and five overall.
“Kind of measure up to see where we are at this stage in the season. I don’t think if we didn’t get a great result, I don’t think it would change much because of our late form,” forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “It will be a nice test, will be a nice test for us, to see where we’re at – how we deal with road games and certain challenges.”