After three successive victories at home, the Red Bulls once again struggled on the road as they fell to Kansas and the Philadelphia Union.
The New York Red Bulls dreadful away form continued last Saturday as they fell 3-0 at Philadelphia, who had yet to win a game this year prior to the match. After three successive wins at home appeared to have put the Red Bulls back on track following a four-match winless streak, they disappointed once again on the road.
Jesse Marsch must address this issue, or his side could end up in quite some trouble this season. Not even a finish outside the playoff positions would be off the cards if such awful performances away from home continue.
They were dominated against Seattle and Houston in respective 3-1 and 4-1 defeats, while they fell to Orlando and recently Kansas. However, a 3-0 loss against a team that had been winless is a new low to an already poor record.
In the past two seasons, Toronto and the Union lost no more than ten times away from home in their sixth place finishes. Not even a third of the regular season has passed and the Red Bulls have lost five times on the road.
The New York side lost just seven regular season matches outside the Red Bull Arena in their last campaign.
Improvement must occur, and it must occur soon if the Marsch’s men are to finish in the playoff places, let alone content at the top of the table. They sit just two points ahead of seventh-placed Atlanta, but because of Atlanta’s games in hand, they could fall out of the playoff positions.
Fortunately for the New Yorkers, their one, unconvincing, away victory actually came at Atlanta in the opening match of the season. Had the result coincided with the run of play that night, as it did in some heavy away defeats this season, the Red Bulls would be in even greater danger of missing out on the playoffs.
There is simply no way to put it other than that a team must collect points on the road if they are to contend for silverware or mild success over course of the season.
However, the notion that they lack the quality to earn results on the road is far from a representation of reality. They may have seemed to lack talent after a four-match winless run, but three successive home victories, followed by two away defeats have established away matches, rather than the ability of the team, as the primary culprit in their defeats.
At home, the Red Bulls have arguably been the strongest team in the MLS. They claimed four victories in five matches and have conceded just one goal. It’s almost as strong a record as their away run is poor.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) May 8, 2017
“We’re going to recover…we have a big game against LA Galaxy & we know this is another opportunity for us"
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) May 7, 2017
All of their home performances have been quite strong this season, and have been more than consistent with results. They ran riot over Columbus, who were top of the Eastern Conference when they visited and could have easily have scored more than twice. Take nothing away from their other victories, however, as none of their visitors have threatened at the Red Bull Arena.
One would think that they watch two different teams when the Red Bulls play at home and away. Such a paradox is quite remarkable.
Though poor away performances are now an obvious issue in the context of their two recent defeats, their three consecutive home games will not occupy Marsch’s thoughts. At this rate, it would be no surprise to Red Bulls stroll past Toronto, LA Galaxy, and the Revolution in upcoming weeks.
There really is no place like home for the New York side.