|photo by Matt Kremkau
Head coach Gerhard Struber is leading the New York Red Bulls into the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second straight season but with the home field advantage. Despite the team being young, and expectations from pundits being low, the team managed to finished fourth and now sit as a dark horse pick for making a deep run in an effort to win their first MLS Cup in club history.
"With a young group it is important to find motivation triggers," said Gerhard on the team's momentum following a win in the final week of the season. "For every single player this will be a chance to create your personal memories, create history and this is the direction will invest all that we can at this time."
New York has defied the odds with one of the youngest team in the league. Along the way they have developed talent like John Tolkin into one of the more reliable wingbacks in the league. Players like him and many others will need to keep their recent consistency if they intend on lifting the cup.
"I think you can say it gives us a little bit of a chip on our shoulder," said Tolkin on the team's age. "If you ask most people they'd say we're not supposed to win this game. But we like that, we like when our backs are against the wall. I think that's how every Red Bulls team has been in the past and when that is the case, I feel like we definitely always show up to perform."
FC Cincinnati finished in fifth place and will play the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday at noon. The visitors have won three of their last four games and only lost one in their last 12 games in order to reach the height of their success during their short time in MLS. Needless to say they will be a formidable opponent and one that hopes to continue the long suffering of the Red Bulls.
"They have high quality, especially in attacking areas," said Struber. "I think they have a high ability to score and also a big ability to create final passes. I think we know what's coming."