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"We Have Seven Finals" as Red Bulls Gear Up for Playoff Fight

(photo by Matt Kremkau)

New York Red Bulls have had a roller coaster season that appeared to be heading towards an end of their decade long playoff qualification but the situation has taken a turn since the MLS restart. Now, despite still being under .500, New York has a chance to lock in a playoff position and potentially avoid a play-in game for the seventh or eight spot.

"We have seven finals," said head coach Bradley Carnell when speaking about the importance of the remaining games. "We know what a stretch it is and we know what the schedule, how grueling it is. Every opportunity we can get, every gap we can see and take advantage of, we have to take it at all costs."

Red Bulls' form has been erratic over the last five games but they have grabbed three key wins. The most recent came against Atlanta United at Mercedes Benz Stadium, a trip which has become fruitful for points in recent seasons. Still, their home record has been an issue which was highlighted by the 2-1 loss to Inter Miami last week.

Consistency will be key for New York as their opponents are potential league MVP Alejandro Pozuelo and MLS Cup favorites Toronto FC. The game, which will be played in Hartford CT due to COVID restrictions, will allow for a neutral perspective that could benefit both sides in different ways. 

"The players will come," said Carnell. "But opportunities to score goals, opportunities to score points, opportunities to get shut outs, they are going to be the challenges. That's going to be us, now, being laser-focused and making sure that, at all costs, what does the team do and need with everyone on board and everyone for the common cause."

Head coach Carnell's time with the team is limited following the hiring of Gerhard Struber as the team's new coach. All signs have pointed to him taking over the club as soon as his visa clears, but more than likely, Carnell will be guiding the team into a deep playoff run before the new regime takes over.

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