New York Red Bulls have the arduous task of defeating Club Santos Laguna by at least two goals to clinch the CONCACAF Champions League semis.
New York Red Bulls were hit with a heartbreaking 2-0 loss to Club Santos Laguna on Tuesday in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
The club is now is in the uncomfortable position in which they cannot afford to get scored on and need to rack at least two goals to advance to the semifinal—similarly to last season’s MLS Eastern Conference final against Atlanta United when they lost the first leg 3-0.
New York didn’t manage to net three goals versus Atlanta last year hence lost the Eastern Conference final.
The Metros will fight to avoid that pain again. Here are five things they’ll need to do to advance to the next round despite the 2-0 loss in the first leg:
1. Remember last year’s Eastern Conference final against Atlanta
As mentioned, Chris Armas’s men were in a similar situation before last season when they lost the Eastern Conference final first leg 3-0 to Atlanta.
Therefore, the players and the coaching staff have a feel of what it’s like to go into a second leg they will be playing catch up in. They know what to do and what not to do.
2. Stay Confident
Before La Liga giants F.C., Barcelona miraculously defeated Paris Saint Germain 6-1 to come back from a 4-0 loss in the first leg of the 2017 UEFA Champions League, ex Blaugrana player Neymar posted on Instagram: “As long as there’s one percent chance we have 100 percent faith.”
Barca then head coach Luis Enrique was also confident that his team was able to outscore PSG on aggregate. “If they can score four, we can score six,” Enrique said per The Guardian.
The three-time Supporters’ Shield champions need to enter Tuesday’s match with the same mentality.
It seems that NYRB does have a similar mindset.
“We know it’s a tough task, and that was a talking point today,” Armas said in a post match conference.
“Still today the way the guys showed up, it was a continuation of these last few days. Good energy, a lot of confidence.”
They should remain confident even if Santos score on Tuesday to make the comeback sound more impossible. Paris netted against Barca in the second leg but they still manage to rally back.
3. Start the game strong
“Certainly, the game won’t be won in the first twenty minutes from us but it can be lost so we’ll have to be smart in how we go about it,” Armas said the postgame conference.
The first 15-20 minutes of the match could set the tone of the entire 90-minute.
If the Red Bulls come out strong that will make the Santos’ defenders uncomfortable and add confidence on the American team’s end.
Or better yet, an early goal will make the Mexican side panic even more.
4. Remember to defend
Yes, the team needs goals, but let’s not forget Laguna still has two top-notch CONCACAF strikers Julio Furch and Javier Correa.
Defense is as important as offense. Scoring is a must but if the Red Bulls concede a goal on Tuesday it makes their quest more unattainable.
5. Be patient
Santos will more than likely sit back since they hold a two-goal lead on aggregate. The MLSers will have to be patient, not rush things nor get hopeless if it takes time to break past their opponents’ defense.
Even if the clock strikes the 75th-minute mark and the game is scoreless, there’s still more than enough time for a team as talented as NYRB to find the net twice.