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December 13, 2018

New York Red Bulls: Early second leg goal changes momentum in Eastern Conference finals

November 28, 2018

HAVER, N.J. — The energy drink’s ad campaign famously proclaims “Red Bull gives you wings.”

On Thursday night, an early goal in the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta United will give the New York Red Bulls hope.




If the Red Bulls can duplicate what they did in the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals, when Alex Muyl struck in the 17th minute, there’s belief that it will not only energize Red Bull Arena, but also provide cause for concern for the visitors, who have a 3-0 aggregate lead.

“If we can get one early, it becomes its own momentum, especially when they’re going to have that in their heads, I think,” Muyl said after training on Tuesday. “Sometimes when you have this big lead, it can become its own weight and it own pressure. Hopefully that can affect them.”

The Red Bulls have scored the first goal in all but three home games across all competitions this season and netted nine goals inside the opening 30 minutes.

“It is going to be important for us to score first, especially early because once we do that it will add added pressure on them once we have that momentum going in,” defender Michael Amir Murillo said through a translator. “Scoring first is probably going to be really key for us.”

The Red Bulls know an early goal on Thursday night is the key to getting back into the Eastern Conference finals. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

While a goal in the opening half hour would do the Red Bulls wonders, head coach Chris Armas said whenever that goal is scored is important because it alters the narrative of the tie.

“I think it changes it a lot. I think that’s what we’re excited for, the thought of scoring the first goal and what that does to a team and each guy and our stadium. So, at any point in the game that first goal means a lot,” Armas said. “We will will be ready to go after it and wrap our minds around how to get that goal knowing we can we can get it in different ways, but we’re wrapping your mind around that we’re getting it.”

The Red Bulls also draw confidence from the goal difference at home. They haven’t conceded at Red Bull Arena since a 2-1 win over LAFC on August 5 and have won their last seven games at home, outscoring the opposition, 12-1.

Since Armas took over for Jesse Marsch midway through the season, the Red Bulls are 9-1-0 at home with a +16 goal differential.

“We’re feeding off of that we just did it in our building, we won 3-0 not too many days ago, we’re feeding off we win at home, we’re feeding off in most every single game of the season, we’ve scored first. We’re feeding off of that we are champions of the league, we’re feeding off we didn’t make it this far to just come this far,” Armas said. “I’m staring at a lot of winners in that locker room and that’s what we’re feeding off of. The whistle blows and we empty it. That’s where you can feel this thing going. The energy, it’s growing.”

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