The New York Red Bulls (pictured) have never won in three all-time Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League away games. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHESTER, Pennsylvania -- The New York Red Bulls have serious aspirations of reaching the Major League Soccer playoffs and progressing beyond the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League’s group stage.
In order to achieve success on both of those fronts, however, closing out matches on the road could prove essential.
Their difficulty doing so resurfaced Sunday in a 2-2 draw at the Philadelphia Union.
The Red Bulls surrendered a two-goal, second-half lead at Talen Energy Stadium, the same venue at which they allowed Philadelphia to rally from a deficit as they suffered U.S. Open Cup elimination last month.
The team has won only once away this season (1W-3D-7L), a 7-0 victory at archrival New York City FC.
Midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who struck for a pair of first-half goals Sunday, was blunt in his assessment of the match.
"We played like boys, not men," he remarked. "We make the same mistakes we made in the past. We aren't learning from our mistakes."
Kljestan, who was selected for MLS’s all-star game to be played on July 28, wasn't finished.
"It's going to be a long season if we don't learn from our mistakes," the 30-year-old added. "How can they just play balls up the field and be on the run basically at our goal from the sides? It's mistakes. We don't manage the game well."
Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch was just as critical. Despite enjoying a man advantage for the final 18 minutes after Ilsinho was red carded, his team was strained defensively. Marsch was forced to pull striker Bradley Wright-Phillips for defender Ronald Zubar.
"Ridiculously, I had to go to five in the back, when we were up a man,” expressed the former U.S. international. “I didn't feel like we could defend, so that was the only way to manage the game tactically, so that we could somehow stop giving away big chances. And, even with that being said, we almost gave it away."
With its SCCL opener on August 3 against visiting Antigua GFC looming on the horizon, New York will be looking to get its road act together sooner rather than later.