HANOVER, N.J. — The Garden State Ultras supporters group arrived at the New York Red Bulls training facility Saturday morning in full voice. They brought a banner, they brought smoke bombs and they brought flairs, singing the same songs that echo throughout Red Bull Arena on a game day.
The sound Tuesday night, though, promises to be a bit different, a little more reminiscent of what the Red Bulls experienced last week at Estadio Akron when they fell to Chivas de Guadalajara in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League semifinal.
With a massive Mexican population in the New York City area and with Chivas being one of the most popular Liga MX squads, it appears the opponent will be well represented — perhaps as much as the home team — for the critical second leg.
“It will be kind of weird being that it’s at our home ground, but either way if there’s people there it will be a good atmosphere,” forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “Hopefully that can spur us on and we can get the performance we need.”
The support, or lack thereof, in CCL competitions was a talking point following the Red Bulls’ ouster of Club Tijuana in the quarterfinals. A sparse announced crowd of 6,393 at 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena raised eyebrows.
“This team made history tonight,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said after that win. “You would like to see a group of fans out to support their team in a moment like that.”
The Red Bulls made tickets to the home leg against Chivas available as part of a three-match flex plan in an attempt to discourage Chivas fans from purchasing. But, of course, the team cannot control sales on the secondary market and as of 6:30 p.m. EST Monday, the cheapest tickets were $73.87.
“It’s always a little bit weird, but obviously you want to see a crowd thats filled instead of not filled,” midfielder Tyler Adams said. “You act like they’re cheering for you and you go on with the game, but it’s always nice to be at home, no matter what.”
Marsch said he’s hoping for any home field advantage they can get Tuesday night, and that includes some help from Mother Nature. Temperature at kickoff is expected to be 46 degrees.
“Cold weather I think would be an advantage, obviously we want all our fans to come out and support us,” Marsch said. “We know our fans will be there and they’ll be loud. But they’ll also be a Chivas contingent. It makes for I think a very energetic game, a fun game. To have that kind of atmosphere in a big game would be great.”