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Editorial: The Red Bulls are the Road Warriors

photo by Matt Kremkau

What's going on here? How is this possible? Is there something in the water that they are drinking? (Maybe it's a new flavor of Red Bull), but the club since beginning the season in late February at San Jose is knocking off opponents left and right to earn the full three points when they hit the road and are looking perfect.

They have been throttling their opponents away from the cathedral of football with dominating performances, and in two US Open Cup road matches at Hartford and at our Nation's Capital, it has been seven straight road victories in all competitions before drawing against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

But how are the balls going into the back of the net more easily on the road than at home? Well for one thing, when the Red Bulls are playing at home, the teams visiting Harrison, are playing for the draw. A low block inside their own area, is frustrating the Red Bulls to no end. Clogging up the middle of the park and inside the area, is forcing shots that are not on frame.

But on the road, they have been dominating and taking out their opponents for a full 90 minutes. When they face their opponents on the road, those teams are playing the Red Bulls trying to earn three points with flair and excitement. Yet New York are just playing their game and are attacking with success.

Lewis Morgan right now leads the club with four goals in league play, five in all competitions, Patryk Klimala is currently second with three goals, Tom Barlow, Omir Fernandez & Aaron Long are tied with two goals at the moment. As you can see the production work is going well, but only half of the schedule.

But watching the Red Bulls play at Audi Field in their US Open Cup Round four matchup against DC United, saw a great mix of the MLS roster and the USL Championship roster getting off to a slow start, but as the game was growing, it built a strong side to dominate the entire second half. Not only seeing Luquinhas convert but seeing John Tolkin knock one in early after the start of the second half and then Zach Ryan earning his first professional goal.

It didn't matter if DC United rolled out a less entertaining side and got properly punished for it, all that matters is the Red Bulls came out and wanted to win that match and advance to the next round which they did and will await their opponents in the Fifth Round draw this Thursday night. Something is crazy this season and in all the years this club has performed on the road, we have never seen this much perfection at all.

Even though they drew at Philadelphia, it was a hard-fought match, with another brilliant goal from Luquinhas, while being down to ten men. The intensity from the Red Bulls has been infectious and their unbeaten streak to start the season away from Red Bull Arena is now at six straight road games.

"I think we expect in this game many, many situations with first, with second ball fights, with pressing, counter-pressing, game-pressing, and many transition moments and exactly this is coming. 

"I think in the first half, this was a battle on the same level in both directions. We can see the one around a chance and the one or other save. I think this was a 50/50 situation in the first half. I think our structure, our behavior was very good and we have in many times control. " said Head Coach Gerhard Struber, "Today's the result with one point, for me, not the most important thing. For me, it's my group, my boys, the mentality of what they show me. 

"This can only do a team with the right spirit and the right togetherness, and today I feel we are so strong and so stick together, and I think this -- this will help us also in the next difficult task what are coming.  Yeah, I am very proud today of my boys and yeah, I think this point has a bigger value like one point in a normal game."

This has been a great start to their road schedule, but honestly, they need to start earning wins at home to remain dominant and hopefully win a trophy at the end of the season.


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