New York Red Bulls Aim to Draw Level in East with Match Against Columbus Crew 2
Oct 16, 2016; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Columbus Crew during second half at Red Bull Arena. The New York Red Bulls defeated Columbus Crew 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls outscored their last three MLS opponents by a score of 12 to 1.

On Saturday, July 29, the New York Red Bulls flexed their offensive muscle. A crucial element to the team that was absent at the beginning of the season has emerged strong in their previous three matches.

In the beginning of the season, RBNY’s atrocious attacking efforts resulted in a goal differential of zero. This was within their first three games.

What has changed for the New York Red Bulls? Is it their attack, defense, or strong additions to the team?

In fact, it may be none of these. It seems to be a mentality shift. A mentality of collectivism instead of individualism.

After a massive 4-0 win against Montreal at home, there was a locker room consensus. No individual effort won the match, it was a collective effort. Even though red-hot Royer scored two goals in the game, he still lauded the win as a team victory.

When asked about the performance of Daniel Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips insisted that it was good for the club that the scoring is more dispersed between players. Scoring a goal himself that evening did not penetrate the collective rhetoric which was trying to be conveyed.

BWP agreed with Royer when asked about the win as a team effort. He claimed, “It was a great team effort. I think in the beginning of the season, I said before, the defense was playing well but the attack wasn’t. Then there had been times where the attack was playing well and the defense wasn’t. Now, we’re getting all those players together and we’re looking like a real team. It’s never been about one player. Since Jesse came, he’s tried to emphasize that. I think tonight was a perfect example of that.”

Later BWP was asked if he thought the team’s offensive ability it helping relieve the pressure from the defense and Robles. He noted that in the beginning of the season the team was awful in the attack. During that time, he explained that the defense picked the team up in the time of an attacking drought.

His concluding comment on the collective effort was, “Now, I think both sides of the team are complementing each other.”

A similar question was asked to Luis Robles. He lauded the rest of the team by stating, “A lot of the great stuff that happens on my end is because of the guys in front of me.”

Robles continued with his team-first response as he unselfishly answered a question asked about his second consecutive shutout. Robles commented that the team has a collective effort approach and that this mentality is pervasive throughout the locker room.

Robles and BWP were both preceded by Jesse Marsch’s comments on the game. Marsch commented on individual performances, but noted how important it was for the team to collectively improve beyond their solid Saturday night performance.

He stated, “I even think this team can get better, sharper, clearer, cleaner. So that’s our drive right now. We know as a group that we’ve got potentially a huge week coming up, so we can’t pat ourselves on the back too much. We have to make sure now that we find ways to get better, keep the hunger, keep the drive so that we keep moving our season along in all the right ways.”

Marsch’s focus on overall team development instead of focusing on high-profile signings or egos seems to be working for RBNY.

As for the statistical collective effort, RBNY outscored their opponents by four goals. The offense overpowered Montreal with 25 shots and 11 shots on target. This is a 20 shot and nine shot on target differential compared to the visitors.

Both shot statistics explain the collective efforts of RBNY. Montreal were only allowed five shots, only two were on target. In the end, this resulted in a shutout for the defense and four goals scored for the offense.

Going forward, the collective mentality of the team could be RBNY’s bread and butter. Where high-profile teams such as NYCFC, Orlando, and LA Galaxy have been struggling, RBNY are on the rise.

This rise could certainly be because RBNY put the star-studded individual behind them. Their low-profile signings in the transfer window illustrate that the team is comfortable without big name players. This is reflective in the absence of a RBNY player in the MLS All-Star game, but seems to be working within the US Open Cup.

RBNY now see themselves within striking distance of third place in the East. NYCFC lost against Toronto which means if they win next week’s match against NYCFC they will slide into third place.

RBNY also have a strong opportunity as they await their semi-final match in the US Open Cup.

Do you think RBNY are doing well with a low-profile roster which acts collectively? Or would you rather a high-profile signing which draws attention away from the collective efforts of the team?

Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.