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NEW YORK RED BULLS MEDIA CONFERENCE

April 6, 2019

Chris Armas

Harrison, New Jersey

Minnesota United FC - 2, New York Red Bulls - 1

Q. At this point how can you fix this for the next match?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, look, actually the guys, listening to the guys, there wasn't a lot of frustration. There's not an ability to break down why, but I didn't see a lot of frustration. You're talking about quality, you're talking about certain things that didn't happen, but yeah, there wasn't a whole lot of frustration. I think it's pretty clear, this is the third game in a row, right, that -- you know, can you impose your style of play on the opponent. That's the question going in. So when the other team is giving you so much space and giving you so much of the ball, it's tempting to try to play a bit underneath, right, and then if we're sharper in these moments with the final pass and the final play and getting two strikers and we're running and a bunch of crosses and we go too far and high, yeah, it just builds. But it was there for us. It was there for us, and you could see in the second half that we played a little bit more our way and forced the issue a little bit. Frame the box, get second balls, launch attacks. That was the rhythm, that was the plan. We're going to get there.

Q. You alter the formation, the two strikers you talked about it during the week, about possibly doing that, but wanting to have the guys comfortable in that situation. What were you looking for with the change, and what did you think of the way the team played in that shape?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, I think that the shape, I think we're in that structure, we're hard to break down. We're hard to get through, and I think that was pretty obvious. There was really not a whole lot of chances in that first half. This is a couple of counterattacks and playing some balls into Rodriguez up top, and Aaron Long, might have been his best game of the year. So it was exactly what we thought it could look like. Okay, if Quintero was playing, it's another guy underneath, so that gave them another guy to kind of bunker in with their five in the back.

Yeah, look, the formation, again, being hard to break down, meaning us in that structure, when you have Alex and then Danny and then Cristian and wide infielder is tucked in and looking like a 4-3-1-2 or diamond, it sets you up for second balls, it sets you up for putting guys, staggering guys in the pockets, in the gaps, and if you have two strikers then you can challenge the back line. We didn't really get that quality and the sharpness that we need, but I thought structurally it was okay. It was okay.

Seeing how they were lined up, I thought maybe we'd switch with some speed on the flanks, and I thought that was effective.

In the end, whatever structure we play or style or system of play, let's say, we just have to be sharp and execute and try to impose on will on the opponent.

Q. It seemed like the heads sunk a little bit after that first goal and you guys conceded another one at halftime. What do you feel like has been the issue for you guys in that respect this season? It feels like there's been a little bit of a lack of -- when you guys have been down, being able to really respond quickly, even fall behind a lot. What do you feel like the problem has been?
CHRIS ARMAS: Listen, you know, the goals are going to come. But when they don't come and they don't come first, it puts a little more pressure on your back line and your team. And if you look up and add up the amount of shots we've given up on goal in five games to any other team in the league, it's maybe the best, if not top two or three. It was going into the night. So how many did we have tonight? Maybe four? I'm not sure. It puts stress on the team, guys. So we come in, and the guys, they hear, what's that, two in a row, we haven't lost two in a row, now it's three in a row, and that's what guys -- when that first goal comes, what does that do to you? Doesn't make you feel good. So now you're like, okay. And then of course a second goal. So it deflates you a little bit. But our guys rebounded and they came back with energy and fight.

And then I think we could all see when we stick to who we are and force the issue a little bit, which is what we wanted for 90 minutes, not 45 or so, looks more and feels more like us. But when the goals come, it's going to look a lot different. It'll come.

Q. The last three weeks the opposing teams have played very direct, trying to avoid tossing the ball over in their half to limit chances for you guys. When a team does that, what is you guys' plan to create chances?
CHRIS ARMAS: Look, if you think back to 2015 when we started this project, we caught everybody by surprise. Our pressing was new to the league, and things over time have changed now because we're not really catching teams by surprise, right? We can still overwhelm teams with our pressing and counterpressing, but there's been a shift. We can see. It used to be a couple of teams changed their way, and now a lot of teams are changing their way, which -- not just maybe respect out of who we are, but they're saying you can't break us down, and we'll get one against you. That's what's going on. It's been a shift, a big shift. And again, we just have to clearly understand that, and then again, whatever formation we line up in, we're still relying on numerical advantages, our net that we say, counterpressing, controlling spaces. So what do we need to do? Yeah, we have to -- we can be better. We have to stick to who we are. It's two strikers, it's one. It's just that we have to be aggressive, commit numbers and do that for 90 minutes, and I'm sure some of these goals that we're conceding -- some we just weren't good enough -- on one play tonight, we're not as connected as we need to be, and the other one was a little bit more random. It felt like that way. And coming into tonight we gave up four, two our own goals, so it's a little bit of a tough stretch. But we'll come out stronger for sure. We're learning a lot. Learning a lot about what teams are doing and how we can address that.

Q. Three losses in a row, this is your first losing streak with the team. How are you coping with this? You're not used to this with the Red Bulls in particular.
CHRIS ARMAS: Listen, I've been around the game a long time. It's not the first time that I've lost three in a row. I've lost plenty of games. I don't feel I'm coping -- I don't even think about where -- it's just part of the business. I've won a lot more than I've lost, and sometimes they come in bunches with wins and sometimes the losses seem to come around. You know, I've been a guy and a person that I'm at my best when things get tough. So I think that we'll continue to look hard in how we can help as a staff, but I think the energy with the team and the game plans have been right. I think we're thinking about things the right way. But yeah, appreciate you asking, but I'm good. I'm good. I believe in the team. They give me the confidence and the staff is working hard. Again, I think we've gotten a lot right in preparation, and now the results are going to come our way. They do.

When you work as hard as we do and you see things clearly the way we are and you have guys that stick together and believe in each other and believe in who we are, it makes me maybe sleep good at night. But certainly I'll be working even harder.

Q. Coach, could you real quick give a quick update on Alex, and also talk about after he went down, being with him off the field in the second half, the team was still -- he was one of the people who during this stretch he's still been one of the best players on the field, still putting in (indiscernible) after every game, and in the second half you guys still controlled the ball for 90 percent of it. The team still served offensively. Can you talk a little bit about that, off the field?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, look, I think that this team has shown that it has a clear playing style. We have a clear style that we've seen when different players have not been in the lineup that the next guy comes in and things keep moving. And that's just -- I think there's a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities on the field. So I imagine Danny Royer coming to the game, he knows it better than anyone. Yeah, I thought Danny did great, and of course it's a tough loss. Alex brings a lot of quality and fight, and you have to make that change. But yeah, credit to the team in the second half for making the push that we did. But yeah, we fell a little short.

Yeah, look, Alex has been a big part of things. We've been relying on him a lot. He's given so much to the team this year. His energy is contagious, and it's important for us, especially the way we play and the way we need to be playing more. I think he just rolled his ankle. He'll be back soon.

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