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Three Things: Breaking down New York Red Bulls CCL semifinal loss to Chivas

Apr 10, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Aaron Long (33) reacts to a call by referee Walter Lopez during the first half against Guadalajara at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Here are three things we learned from the New York Red Bulls 0-0 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara and ultimate ouster from the Concacaf Champions League semifinals Tuesday night.

Tactical switch for BWP

Throughout his Major League Soccer career, Bradley Wright-Phillips has carved out a niche as one of the league’s top strikers, a poacher around the box.

But on Tuesday, Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch switched Wright-Phillips role a bit. Instead of the lone striker in a preferred 4-2-3-1, Wright-Phillips floated deeper in the midfield, as almost a false No. 9 or even a No. 10.

“By putting another striker up there and having him float a little bit more underneath, he can catch balls, be facing the goal a little bit more, helping to put combinations and plays together,” Marsch said. “The goal was also to have him joining in late for crosses, for balls in the box.”

Wright-Phillips said he was concerned about the defensive responsibilities with the new assignment, but said he acquitted himself well.

“I don’t mind it,” Wright-Phillips said. “Anywhere I can help the team win I will play.”


Knowing the Red Bulls had to chase the game and, at the least, level the series after conceding in Guadalajara, conventional wisdom would suggest the club’s biggest offseason signing — Alejandro Romero Gamarra — would be at the center of the needed attack.

But when the team sheets were released, the young Argentine was on the bench, where he was to start each of the club’s six CCL matches.

Kaku did finally come on, replacing Danny Royer in the 58th minute, but he was unable to provide that spark. Neither of his two shots were on frame, although he did complete 83.3 percent of his 12 passes and had 23 touches.

Marsch said he liked the way his team played early and credited Chivas as a team very difficult to break down, in part, because of a “unique” tactical plan he’s not seen before.

“We know that in the later stages that the game might be a little more open and Kaku can come in then and have a little bit more space,” Marsch said. “It winds up being a little short on the day, but I think it’s more to do with not getting a break or a little bounce.”

Thank you fans

The Red Bulls had a statistical advantage, but it was Chivas who had the massive advantage in the stands. Of the 23,623 at Red Bull Arena Tuesday night, it seemed like most of the stadium was cheering on the Mexican powerhouse. In the moments before the match, loud chants of “Chivas!” “Chivas!” “Chivas!” echoed throughout the stadium.

But the die-hard Red Bulls fans, the supporters who sit behind the goal Chivas goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota defended in the first half, never stopped singing.

“I want to thank the fans for coming out. Their support was tremendous,” Robles said. “I’m sure we were outnumbers Chivas fans to Red Bulls fans, but even the Red Bulls fans who were there were loud were tremendous, they were loud, there was a great vibe in the stadium.”

Added Marsch: “I thought our fans who did come were really loud, especially in the first half when they were down there and play after play after play they were supporting the team in a big way.”




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