New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls didn’t have the best start of the season yet they always knew they were as strong as last year.

One thing about New Yorkers: even if they’re lost in the Sahara Desert, they will remain as calm as if they’re back in Times Square because they know they’re more than strong enough to make their way back home.

After winning the Supporters’ Shield last year, the New York Red Bulls suffered a horrendous start of the 2019 MLS season.

The Metros were embarrassingly kicked out of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League by Club Santos Laguna, 6-2, on aggregate, only won one of their first seven MLS games while scoring eight goals and lost to their rivals New England Revolution.

Nevertheless, the club’s head coach, Bronx native Chris Armas, wasn’t very disturbed throughout their winless run.

“Coming out of this game there’s no real concern,” Armas said in a post-match interview via the club’s Twitter account after the team’s 1-0 loss against last year’s bottom-placed club of the Eastern Conference, Orlando City SC, on March 23, 2019. The team lacked chemistry and energy—something to be immensely worried about.

RBNY failed to score again and lost their following match versus Chicago Fire, 1-0, on March 30. Armas was asked if he was concerned then.

“No listen, I know we’re going to score goals. It’s just some of the performances from us that’s got to get better. Again when we stick to who we are it looks very different. So there are no real concerns right now, other than that we have to get moving here,” the New Yorker said in the post-match press conference.”

Why wasn’t Armas concerned? Because he knew what his players are capable of; he knew his side is still the same side that topped the MLS during the regular season last year.

“I think also we are one of the best teams in the league,” Amro Tarek said when a reporter noted that their last opponent Los Angeles Galaxy is one of the best teams in the league in a post-game interview per the team’s website.

Los Angeles is in second place in the Western Conference. New York is in eighth place in the East. Hence it was very bold from Tarek to call his club one of the best teams in the MLS.

The Egyptian wasn’t the only bold Red Bull player to say New York is one of the most talented teams in the league.

“We got the best backline in the league and I will continue to say that,” left back Kemar Lawrence said after a training session on April 25 via the club’s website.

Inside the locker room, the players always believed that they’re as good as last year but outside the dressing room it was hard for their fans and the media to believe. The club was heavily criticized and their fans were faithless and irritated.

“I know people talk a lot on the outside but I think on the inside we believe in ourselves. We know that we are a very strong team to play against,” Tarek said.

New York’s players managed to keep their confidence despite the negativities from outside the locker, it was just a matter of time before they started to rack victories after victories again.

“So for us, it’s about preaching patience but also quality input. ‘Cause sooner or later the output will be good,” New York’s captain Luis Robles said in an interview via the club’s website.

The output is starting to look good. The Red Bulls are on a two-match winning run, defeating F.C. Cincinnati, 1-0, and MLS powerhouse L.A. Galaxy, 3-2.

Los Angeles was on a seven-match unbeaten run before falling to Armas’s men and they were leading RBNY 2-1 at halftime.

The New Jersey-based club’s next match is against Montreal Impact on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET home at the Red Bull Arena. If RBNY jumps to three consecutive victories and returns to their dominant form of last season, it will be one of the most inspiring stories on self-confidence the MLS has produced in recent years.

Originally from Haiti, Ralph 'Onz' Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz started covering the New York Red Bulls for ESNY and joined Haitian Times.