Proving doubters wrong providing Red Bulls motivation down the stretch – Red Bull News Network

Posted: October 6, 2019 at 7:48 am


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The New York Red Bulls exited the practice field Wednesday afternoon looking in better spirits then they had in a while.

It would be hard to blame them. This season, despite minimal roster turnover, the team dropped well back from their record breaking 2018 campaign. Throughout the year, the words consistency and complacency lingered over the club.

The reaction within the group seemed negative, and the Red Bullss fans echoed that negativity.

The Red Bulls only glimpse at the top of the table this season came from nearly leading the league in points dropped from winning positions. The Red Bulls ranked second in the league behind only the Vancouver Whitecaps as of September 10th per Dylan Butlers article on MLSsoccer.com.

There is some poetic justice, that even here, they fall short of the top.

Over the last three matches however, the Red Bulls seem to have figured themselves out, putting together their first solid run of results since their five game unbeaten streak in May. So, what changed?

Speaking to Marc Rzatkowski after practice, he noted that working through these negative experiences has begun to galvanize the team.

The answer came during a question about finding consistency defensively down the stretch, but the response piqued my interest. It recalled the early days of the Jesse Marsch Red Bulls. The idea that they needed to prove themselves amongst those that doubted them.

A chip on their shoulder.

Speaking to Brian White about what he has seen while awaiting his fitness to return to the field, it came up again.

So much of the success of the Jesse Marsch era was predicated on this very principle. Whenever the Red Bulls faltered under Marsch, the need for the team to play with a chip on their shoulder seemed to be questioned.

Since Chris Armas took over for Marsch last July, that phrase disappeared from the Red Bulls lexicon. But now, after their worst home record since 2009, it seems to be returning, and just in time. The MLS Playoffs are tailor-made for teams that pick up steam as the season ends, and the single elimination format might prove favorable to teams carrying momentum into the tournament.

Still, the Red Bulls have no illusions of the expectations most have placed on the squad to continue their playoff futility. For Chris Armas, hes always felt comfortable being viewed as the underdog.

Is it possible the Red Bulls put together a dramatic, positive end to the season? As possible as anything else in the strange world of the MLS Playoffs, but it would certainly help to keep that mindset moving forward. Against the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff field, the Red Bulls have a 5-4-3, with most of their wins playing at Red Bull Arena.

The likelihood of any home playoff games remains in doubt, making the task much harder for the team. But if the Red Bulls really have regained the chip on their shoulder, then maybe it is possible.

Armas knows the perception the Red Bulls carry, even at their best, and he shows his contempt for the teams portrayal.

The ultimate proof wont come until after the Red Bulls season ends. They hold the keys to their destiny, in a vehicle powered by their need to prove doubters wrong. Will they finally deliver the fans the most elusive prize, or will the playoffs end in heartbreak as they have since their inception?

The team certainly look stronger now than they have all season, and Armas says they are prepared to prove it.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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Proving doubters wrong providing Red Bulls motivation down the stretch - Red Bull News Network

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October 6th, 2019 at 7:48 am

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