New York Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber believes the key to ending his side’s losing away run is to be “quicker in the brain” like they are at home.
NYRB lost 3-2 to Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution on Wednesday to make it four away losses in a row this term, and six on the spin stretching into last season.
That is in stark contrast to their four wins on the bounce at Red Bull Arena, three of those without conceding a goal.
After witnessing his side ship three unanswered goals in 51 minutes against the Revs, Struber accepts an improvement is needed ahead of successive away games.
“In some moment we are not ready enough and I think that has to change,” he said. “At home we are always quick in the brain with every action.
“We are also more synchronized at home. That is something we lacked against New England. When we are not synchronized, we come into trouble.
“But I’m proud of the guys for their response in the last game. They kept fighting even when we were three goals down.”
Atlanta were also beaten in midweek, going down 1-0 to New York City FC to stretch their winless run to four games – the other three matches in that sequence finishing level.
The Five Stripes are back at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday and head coach Gabriel Heinze has questioned the scheduling of three fixtures in such close proximity.
“We did not recover well between the last two games. Adjustments cannot be made because there is so little time,” he said.
“When you play every other day, it may happen that the footballer does not recover properly. If you have one more day, you have a better chance of recovering.
“This is known to you and the whole world. Those who do not know it are the ones who decide the calendar.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Atlanta United – Erick Torres
Torres has yet to score or assist in five MLS appearances this season. In fact, the former Mexico international has just one goal in 18 outings for Atlanta since making his debut last August. That is a poor return, but the 28-year-old has netted more goals against the Red Bulls (six) than he has against any other MLS side, so this might just be the perfect fixture to kick-start his campaign.
New York Red Bulls – Patryk Klimala
The Red Bulls have scored 14 goals in nine games this season, which is double the amount they managed at the same stage last time out, thanks to numerous players chipping in. Klimala endured a difficult time of things at Celtic but has made a positive start with NYRB, getting off the mark in his fifth appearance for the club in the loss to New England.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Red Bulls have lost only one of their 10 all-time meetings with Atlanta United (W7 D2, including playoffs), though the lone Atlanta win came in the first leg of the 2018 Eastern Finals (3-0, won 3-1 on aggregate). Atlanta’s 0.5 points per match against the Red Bulls is their lowest against any MLS opponent.
– Atlanta have 11 points from their first nine games this season, equaling the lowest total at this stage of a season in the club’s MLS history (also in 2020 and 2017).
– The Five Stripes are yet to lose at home this season, winning twice and drawing twice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
– The Red Bulls’ 3-2 loss at New England on Wednesday was their sixth straight loss on the road (including playoffs) dating back to the end of last season. New York have not lost more than six straight away matches since a nine-match away losing streak from April to July 2009.
– Fabio recorded his fifth assist of the season when setting up Patryk Klimala’s goal on Wednesday. He is already level with Kaku’s team-high five assists from all of the 2020 season.