HANOVER, N.J. — The ad campaign for the energy drink proclaimed “Red Bull gives you wings.”
New York Red Bulls midfielder Danny Royer knows from experience: A new coach gives you energy.
That’s what he’s expecting from the Colorado Rapids in Robin Fraser’s first game in charge Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
“Speaking from experience, when a new coach comes in everybody wants to show up, everybody wants to win a spot,” Royer said after training Thursday. “Maybe players that didn’t play that much start on the weekend, they want to show that they’re supposed to start. There’s always a new motivation, probably a new commitment. That’s what the change of a manager should do, or that should be the effect.”
Fraser is the Rapids’ third coach this season. After Anthony Hudson was fired May 1, Conor Casey took over on an interim basis and was replaced by Fraser, who was hired August 25.
The Rapids (7-14-6) come to Harrison winless in their last three games and with little but pride to play for in the final seven games of the regular season.
“These guys are fighting for roster spots, for their jobs,” midfielder Sean Davis said. “We know that they’re going to come into Red Bull Arena with a mission, and that’s to get three points under their new head coach. There’s no reason for us to undermine this game. It’s extremely important for us, especially in the table with few home games left. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think we’re all looking forward to it.”
With no games to reference, projecting how the Rapids will play under Fraser is also a difficult proposition for Red Bulls coach Chris Armas and his staff.
While the formation and tactics are unknown, Armas said there’s still plenty of familiarity in Colorado.
“I think it’s two things — one, we know they’ll come with energy. Two, It’s maybe more important to think about the player qualities of who we’re playing against,” Armas said. “They’re not going to start 11 new players so we understand the back line, different players that they’ll go to and then we know they have different credible attackers that they do have and their tendencies and qualities.”
However, Armas said the onus at training this week has been more about his team than the opposition.
“Honestly it’s so much more about the New York Red Bulls,” Armas said. “It’s about how good can we be at being us, and how from the start of the game, and for 90 minutes, can we stay on top of the details.”