New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch says there is a euphoric atmosphere around his surging squad right now. Marsch hopes the Red Bulls can maintain that energy off of a short turnaround when they take on the Portland Timbers on Friday at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
The Red Bulls continued their impressive form with a 3-2 extra-time win over FC Cincinnati on Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips had two goals in the come-from-behind win, which put New York in the U.S. Open Cup final for the first time since 2003. The Red Bulls have also won six of their past seven MLS matches.
“The energy in the locker room, the energy within our club and the people in the club is at an all-time high,” Marsch said after the win over Cincinnati. “I think there’s almost disbelief. I’ve got to remind everyone that we’ve got more work to do. The feeling right now is one of euphoria, and we’re going to use this to continue to galvanize our team.”
While the Red Bulls arrive in Portland in peak form, the Timbers are coming off an ugly 4-1 loss to Toronto FC and are expected to be without several key players on Friday. Defender Liam Ridgewell (quadriceps), forward Fanendo Adi (hamstring) and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson (hamstring) are listed as questionable. All three missed training this week, and Timbers coach Caleb Porter said that they were looking “unlikely” for Friday.
The loss to Toronto snapped Portland’s three-game MLS unbeaten streak and dropped the Timbers (9-9-7) into fifth place on the Western Conference table. They will try to get back on track against a New York team that will have its endurance tested in its third game in eight days. But Porter knows his team is still facing a stiff challenge.
The Red Bulls (12-9-2) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, but they have a game in hand on all three teams ahead of them.
“New York, they’re in very good form,” Porter said. “As good as I thought Toronto was, I think New York is actually better, when I look at their recent form. I think they’re one of the best teams in the league.”
The Friday match at Providence Park will the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season. The clubs played to a scoreless draw in July 2016.