New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas didn't mince words when talking about his team's 2-0 loss to Columbus Crew on Thursday night. Goals from Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan came off of defensive lapses and poor decision making, handing RBNY their first loss of 2020.
"In tight games it becomes hard to win when you give away a couple of goals the way that we did," said Armas after the game. "You try to attack with some fresh legs and Columbus did a good job of killing the game off, probably, pushing the limits too far in my opinion."
The strategy employed by Columbus is not a new one. We've seen it used to various levels of success against New York in the past. Sit back, wait for them to make a mistake and be clinical with your chances. Once the lead is there, do whatever necessary to slow the pace of the game and foul when appropriate. It makes for a tough watch at times, however, it has been successful and Armas, as well as Jesse Marsch before him, were unable to unlock the key to success against such a strategy.
That didn't stop Armas from taking exception to the tactics. The time wasting and fouls, mixed with water breaks made it difficult for New York to gain a rhythm. Something that Columbus' head coach Caleb Porter knew and took advantage of.
"It seemed like a lot of time wasting," said Armas. "Regardless, we'll have to figure out how to maximize minutes at the end of the game to be sharper. When you're trying to establish a rhythm it's not so easy on nights like this."
New York's loss doesn't eliminate them from contention. Atlanta's two losses make it difficult for the Red Bulls to not advance. However, their game against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday has now become a can't-lose if they hope to stay in the tournament.