|photo by Matt Kremkau
New York Red Bulls' latest win over FC Cincinnati extends their unbeaten run to five games and brings them to within six points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The momentum comes after a tough season where soul-searching and questioning both on and off the field has plagued the club.
"Things were tough during the late summer," said captain Sean Davis after the team's win over the weekend. "We had a lot of honest dialogue about what we needed to do to get back on track and it was not easy at times."
The team has solidified themselves defensively but still have not recovered their sting on the offensive side of the ball. Despite high-priced acquisitions like Patryk Klimala, the team still lacks a consistent striker, something that has placed a heavy burden on a defense that has missed star-player Aaron Long since his achilles injury early in the season.
Still, New York is poised to continue their run to the playoffs, something that has been consistent over the past decade. Their schedule is one that won't be easy with games against Atlanta, Nashville and NYCFC before the end of the campaign.
"We are doing something right," said Davis. "It is important for us to keep going because at this point in the season, and we talked about this before the game, we are in no position to relax. We know how important each game is and that means next Saturday again against Miami is a huge matchup."
The game against Miami does mean as much as Davis had mentioned. Currently both teams are fighting for a playoff position and their previous meeting kicked off New York's current streak with their most dominant win of the season. Miami's erratic form makes them perfect to continue their streak, but it also makes them a dangerous opponent, capable of upsetting the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
"We have to believe," said head coach Gerhard Struber. "I think my boys, the whole team, works hard in that direction with a big focus on defense and a good focus on structure."