Red Bulls look to score at home vs. Sounders
The New York Red Bulls are in the midst of a brutal stretch of five games spread across two competitions in 15 days.
And after rallying for a 1-1 draw at Columbus on Saturday, which came on the heels of an emotional 4-0 win over New York City FC in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup last Wednesday, reinforcements come at a perfect time for the Red Bulls, who host Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena.
While attacking midfielder Alejandro Romero "Kaku" Gamarra is currently in Switzerland looking to make his debut with Paraguay in an international friendly against Japan on Tuesday, central defender Tim Parker and defensive midfielder Tyler Adams return from starting for the United States in an inspired 1-1 draw with France on Saturday in Lyon.
And with goalkeeper Luis Robles back from a knee injury -- he made his first start in Columbus -- the Red Bulls are almost whole again, though they will be without defenders Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar, who are with Panama at the World Cup.
"It felt a little strange, I'm going to be honest with you," Robles said of his return. "I didn't really know how I was going to feel when I walked out there to warm up, and something about being away for a few weeks and then coming back in this situation, if anything, made me feel really grateful for the opportunity to be on this field."
On Saturday, the Red Bulls were dominated in the opening 45 minutes and were fortunate to only trail 1-0 on a Gyasi Zardes goal in the 26th minute. But they came out a different team in the second half and equalized on Alex Muyl's second goal of the season.
"Sometimes draws feel like draws and sometimes they feel like a win; this one felt like a win," Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said after the game. "Because of how hard the first half was for us. When we went in at halftime, I looked at 11 faces and they were searching for answers a little bit. They were exhausted."
New York (7-4-2) enters this match sitting fourth place in the Eastern Conference, seven points from the leader Atlanta United, which heads to Columbus on Wednesday night.
While the Red Bulls have lost just one of their last seven games, going 4-2-1 during that stretch, Seattle (3-7-2) is coming off an emotional 2-1 victory over D.C. United that snapped a three-match losing streak.
Already 11 points behind the playoff line in the Western Conference, the Sounders rallied from a 1-0 deficit early in the second half as Nicolas Lodeiro and Magnus Wolff Eikrem struck for a critical home win.
Now the challenge for the two-time MLS Cup finalists is to go to Red Bull Arena, where the hosts are 4-1-1, and pick up a second road win of the season.
"It's a team game, I think they came to play, I think they all understood the place that we found ourselves in the table," Sounders FC coach Brian Schmetzer said. "I'll just caution everybody here, we still have a long way to go, but there are some signs of life and signs of a little bit of momentum for sure."
Updated June 11, 2018