HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 13: A general view of the MLS, Fussball Herren, USA march ball on the field during the first half of the Major League Soccer game between the New York Red Bulls and Minnesota United on March 13, 2022 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire SOCCER: MAR 13 MLS - Minnesota United at New York Red Bulls Icon220332609

New York Red Bulls have won three straight games against the New England Revolution. So, what can go wrong with facing the Revs again? And you can add the following stat: Red Bulls is in a 5 games unbeaten streak in this season. Four victories in a row and one draw with Philadelphia Union last weekend. However, Red Bulls have struggled in Fortress Foxborough in the past. These facts indicated an interesting battle against the two teams.


Jesse Marsch’s men formed a 4-1-3-2 shape. Since it was a narrow shape we can guess where could Revs be dangerous in attack. Of course, it was the wings. Red Bulls constantly tried to make the available or relevant space small and narrow in order to stole balls and quickly attack. In many cases this allowed them to retain possession in dangerous places and in some cases they could counter-attack the home side. However, you can guess probably what the problem with this. It was counterproductive. In this circumstances not only for the Revs was difficult to progress, but for the guests too. Red Bulls barely had chances from open play in the first half.

Whilst the guests made a congested area and emphasised on their highly direct game, the Revs tried to attack the flanks and rely on crosses around the penalty box. The build-up and the progression were difficult, however, the home side finds a way to outplay the opponent’s style and pressing. The outlet was to pass to Farrell, then he could progress up on the field. Often seen as a pattern that Farrell made a diagonal aerial pass to the other side of the pitch to Penilla. This switch allowed Penilla some time on the ball.

Or in some cases when Farrell got the ball, he played it directly towards Németh. This laser passes a good tool, but when Németh about to receive these passes he met with high pressure from the opponent’s fullback. By the way, Lawrence made a really good performance in this match. Mostly in the defensive phase.

Neutralise each other in the Second half

The Revs made a perfect timing for the equaliser goal right before the break. Thus in the second half, the battle continued. Red Bulls used a rigid man-oriented scheme to cut off the home side attacking plans. With this system made a challenge for the Revs in the early build-up. Of course, they struggled to progress in this circumstances.

The guests also had some issue that they could not deal with them. First of all, when they build form the back the two centre defender positioned far from each other in order to make difficult to the opponent to pressing. However, this was a counterproductive due to the Revs movements. When the goalkeeper pass to one of the centre back Bunbury easily pressed the ball carrier with a curved run and also block the way to switch to the other centre back. The ball-side winger, Penilla or Németh marked the respective fullback and Fagundez stuck with the deepest midfielder, which was usually Davis. Thus the Red Bulls met with a heavy pressure that difficult to bypass and the guests couldn’t make it. Their first and only respond to this was use aerial long balls. These airborne passes meant lost possession in most of the time.

It could be an easy solution for this issue to order Davis to drop between the centre-backs in order to keep the connection alive and made a stable build-up that can rely on.

Secondly, due to the narrow shape Red Bulls struggled to even reach the opponent’s penalty box. When a team passing a ball vertically in the same line the defending team only have to relocate their pressure to stop the opponent’s attack. It is much easier to defend this kind of attempt. That happened with the Red Bulls. As you see below, the guests tried to use vertical progress, which limited in the same line and the defending team could easily neutralise the attempt. Without enough speed, this style is not effective.

Final Thoughts

The one dimension led to a poor quality match-up. Both teams lacked versatility. Also, I missed some intervene from the coaches in order to improve their team build-up phase and attacking scheme.

Wright-Philips had a headed goal again, but besides that Red Bulls did not show anything. However, the home side proved their ability to make some scoring chances, and sometimes they could play in a combinative way, especially Fagundez and Németh. Although they need to improve. In some situations the decision making was poor. Brad Friedel has some time to work on it. Looking for the following matches. The Revs will visit Chicago in this weekend and the New York Red Bulls will meet Columbus.