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Red Bulls need a positive result to advance to the Leagues Cup Knockouts

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Daniel Feuerstein

The New York Red Bulls who slugged it out against the New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena last weekend are getting ready to face an Atletico San Luis side, who just got pounded five goals to one. So as of right now, the result they need is to earn a tie in regulation to advance into the knockout stage, but if they win the penalty kick shootout, then they will be tied on points with the Revs, but depending on goal differential, that's where they will finish in second place. 

So a regulation win will propel them to the top of the group to make sure they host a match in the next round at least. But the way they played against the Revolution at Red Bull Arena, doesn't give me any confidence moving forward. Now defensively, I thought the club played strong, and Carlos Coronel did very well staying inside his area and commended the net. 

But what's bothering me was their offensive capabilities inside the final third. To me, they looked gunshy, and hesitant, and never showed any confidence to look dangerous. Now early on in the first half, they had some solid chances which were stopped by Petrovic of the Revolution, but how many times did they bring up the ball, but never stuck a foot out to force that backline into a situation to put them on their heels? Not a single moment. Dante Vanzeir placed a perfect pass on a platter late in the second half, but no one was able to stick a boot on the ball to challenge the keeper. 

I understand Corey Burke and Lewis Morgan are out due to injury, but once again the players who are currently on the roster are good enough to do some damage to a club like Atletico San Luis, who you saw in midweek action getting throttled by Bruce Arena's side. Granted it's not a club like Club America, Guadalajara, Santos Laguna, Cruz Azul, or Tigres, but I believe Interim Head Coach Troy Lesesne will definitely push the right buttons to get his guys prepared and ready to go. 

Don't forget that the goal is to at least challenge for one of three spots to enter the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2024. The bigger prize is to win it and hopefully perform in the new FIFA Club World Cup which will be on American Soil in 2025. That would be the third time this club would for the tournament proper, but fourth overall after their first tussle in the qualification round in the last 2000s after losing to W Connection of Trinidad & Tobago. 

The furthest was back in 2018 when they defeated CD Olimpia of Honduras in the Round of 16, sweeping Club Tijuana in the Quarterfinals, but falling by a single goal to Guadalajara Chivas. The following year they returned to the Champions League by sweeping Dominican Republic side Club Atletico Pantoja but lost to Santos Laguna in the Quarterfinals. Make no mistake Lesesne will face a Liga MX side for the very first time that isn't the Champions Cup, but I know he's up for the challenge. 

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