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New York Red Bulls upbeat about playoff chances vs. Union: “We like the matchup”

Next to a 4-0 loss in Houston, the New York Red Bulls’ 3-0 shutout defeat at Montreal on Decision Day, presented by AT&T, will go down as one of RBNY’s most lopsided losses of the 2019 season. It was a campaign that ended with them in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, a seeding that will see them hit the road for Round One of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs against East No. 3-ranked Philadelphia Union.

“The guys never want to play like that. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes” Robles said after his team was shut out 3-0 at Stade Saputo. “We know that when we play the way we want to play and put the game on our terms, we can beat anyone.

“And so when I think about the season and some of the [teams] we’ve played in the East, we’ve had a lot of success against some of the top teams and Philly is one of those teams. So we like the matchup. I know we’re excited for the postseason because it’s now when we have the opportunity to really show this organization and this league what we’re made of. I know that the guys are really excited about the postseason. So here we come.

“If we have the right mentality when we go against Philadelphia in Philadelphia, there’s no reason to think that we’re not going to get the result that we want.”

It’s a positive outlook from a team that has had an inconsistent 2019 after finishing as the East No. 1 seed in three of the previous four years. The 2019 Red Bulls lost five of eight early in the year, then five of 10 in midseason, before closing out the season with four defeats in their final seven matches.  

“It’s been a topsy-turvy year, it’s been a year we’ve dealt with adversity. Yet we’re here. We’re in the playoffs,” Robles continued. “And so there is that hope that this is our year. But more than just hope or optimism, we know what we’re capable of and we know what’s in that locker room. And the spirit is strong.

“And so you couple the spirit with the quality and the mindset, and all of a sudden we can be a force. And I think this is what we believe and what we’re going to continue to preach from this moment until the final whistle in Philadelphia when we’re hoping we’re advancing to the next round.”

The Red Bulls will make the short trek to Philly, where they’ve compiled a 6W-6L-2D record in 14 all-time regular-season matches at Talen Energy Stadium. Although they lost their most recent match there 3-2 on June 8, wasting a 2-0 halftime lead, it’s noteworthy that in four all-time October matches played on the road against the Union, the Red Bulls sport a 3W-1L-0D record.

“We’re in the postseason — where we want to be,” said head coach Chris Armas, who called the loss to Montreal an outlier. “Close to home in the first round, in a building we’ve had success. So on to the playoffs.”

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