New York Red Bulls did everything that they could in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals. Unfortunately for the club’s fans, it was not enough.
The CONCACAF Champions League has its final round set, as Toronto FC will battle Chivas Guadalajara in a home-and-home series beginning next week. New York Red Bulls and manager Jesse Marsch will feel frustrated that they will not be taking part, especially after such a dominant showing at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday evening.
Down 1-0 from the first leg in Mexico, New York’s trademark high-pressing style produced a multitude of chances at leveling the score on aggregate, but ultimately were unable to change the scoreline. So many statistics help fans and pundits to analyse the game, although sometimes it does not have to be too complicated of an idea.
The Red Bulls had the majority of possession on the night, and were proactive in the final third when compared to their opponent. Marsch’s squad registered 20 shots in the match, with nine of those on-target. Chivas finished the game with zero shots headed towards the back of the net.
Chance after chance seemed to be present for New York, especially in the first half. Despite the opportunities, supporters were left with another elimination in an important fixture.
Post-season struggles and moral victories can only go so far, evidenced just last year in their MLS Cup exit against Toronto and the U.S. Open Cup final at Sporting Kansas City.
What seemed to agitate many this week were the choices from Marsch in the New York line-up.
Kaku on the bench
The Red Bulls’ major acquisition in the off-season was Alejandro Romero Gamarra, and he did not appear until the second half at home versus Chivas. Florian Valot and Derrick Etienne featured in the middle of the formation in the decisive leg.
Both are talented players, but this is the exact type of situation that Gamarra was brought in for. A veteran of Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana matches, his skill on the ball could have been the difference in the first half.
While there is no guarantee that Kaku would have been able to convert one of their many chances, it is a situation where you would want him in the team for 90 minutes.
New York Red Bulls and Jesse Marsch will now turn their attention back to the 2018 MLS regular season, and work on the formula that turns opportunities into goals moving forward in critical games.