(photo by Matt Kremkau)
New York Red Bulls head coach Bradley Carnell has had the unenviable job of trying to bridge the gap between former coach Chris Armas and the incoming coach Gerhard Struber but the results have shown that has work is paying off. Key draws against Toronto and Orlando show that the team believes in their ability to stand toe-to-toe with the top teams in the conference.
"There's growing belief," said Carnell. "We've always know that guys push each other hard every day. For us, now, it's about how we can bring all the pieces of the puzzle together. It's like like putting bullets in the revolver. To have a full round of ammunition we need a couple of things to go our way."
Not much has gone the way of the Red Bulls this campaign but that tide appears to be turning. Two late goals from Brian White in recent games and the emergence of Caden Clark are positive signs. Players have also shown themselves to be capable of looking dangerous. The only missing piece appears to be the finishing. Something that Carnell is well aware of and has addressed on multiple occasions.
"We're in a good way defensively right now," said defender Aaron Long. "Everyone's wrapped it up a little bit and made a commitment to defending. We know what's on the line right now and I think we're in a good way. We're going to have a good run coming up."
That run will have to start against a New England Revolution team that is very strong. Despite coming off of a draw against Nashville SC, the team has been one of the more consistent in the Eastern Conference. Coached by veteran Bruce Arena, the opposition knows where their strengths lie and hope to prove their ability in Red Bull Arena.
A win for New York cannot be understated. It would raise them to 29 points on the season potentially avoid an extra play-in game. It will be yet another chance to prove that the team is capable against playoff opposition with just three games left in the season.