Mar 17, 2018; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake players celebrate a goal scored on a penalty kick shot by midfielder Albert Rusnak (11) against the New York Red Bulls during the first half at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Was that what ailed the Red Bulls in Sandy, Utah? It would certainly be understandable there would be a dip in form following a historic and emotional win over Club Tijuana Tuesday night in the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals. The Red Bulls were held scoreless for the first time this season and lost on the same day Toronto FC fell 1-0 on the road to the rival Montreal Impact. Both teams advanced in the CCL with victories over Liga MX foes.
Jesse Marsch deployed his sixth different starting XI of the 2018 season and even changed his formation, going 5-4-1 against RSL. Regular starters Sean Davis and Kemar Lawrence didn’t make the trip after picking up undisclosed knocks at training this week. As was the case in a league-opening 4-0 win over the Portland Timbers last Saturday, Bradley Wright-Phillips came off the bench, but he was unable to provide that same spark and saw his five-match point streak snapped.
Now they rest
Even before playing their first league game, the Red Bulls had three competitive matches under their belts in the CCL. The grand total since a 2-0 win over Olimpia in the second leg of the Round of 16 is five matches in 17 days. And for the first time since that match, the Red Bulls will have a full week between games with their next contest next Saturday against Minnesota United FC at Red Bull Arena.
“All the minutes and time and travel and everything, [the result is] clearly not what we wanted,” Marsch said. “That being said we didn’t give much away. The game was still there for us to find a chance and maybe get out of here with a draw, but not quite good enough.”