EDITORIAL: New York Red Bulls Comeback Imminent

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COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 04: New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) pushes past Columbus Crew defender Josh Williams (3) in the MLS eastern conference semifinals game between the Columbus Crew SC and the New York Red Bulls on November 04, 2018 at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial (November 8, 2018) – When the New York Red Bulls conceded a goal to the Columbus Crew, the sigh from fans was practically audible. Cries of “That’s So Metro” resounded on social media. But a one-goal deficit is not insurmountable. Coach Chris Armas and various players assured the fans– and themselves– that they knew what to do to in the second leg. The comeback is not an impossible dream.

EDITORIAL: New York Red Bulls Comeback Imminent

The Lingering Curse

Most fans are aware of the Curse of Caricola. It’s a sort of entrance exam question for RBNY fandom. The very first goal scored by the club was an own-goal by Nicola Caricola in 1996. The then-MetroStars lost their first game. They are still the only original MLS team to never win the MLS Cup. It was believed the curse had faded when the team won their first Supporters’ Shield in 2013. RBNY has now won three Shields, having edged out Atlanta United FC this past Decision Day. But what if the Curse of Caricola wasn’t the only bad mojo from the MetroStars days?

Short Tenure, Lasting Legacy

On SiriusXMFC’s “The Football Show,” prolific soccer executive Charlie Stillitano spoke of his days as the General Manager of the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the early days of MLS. He lightheartedly mentioned Metrostars original coach Eddie Firmani. He was known for his time with the New York Cosmos, which (it must be noted) really put soccer on the map in the New York Metro area.

Firmani only spent eight games at the helm for the MetroStars (3-5 record; games could not end in a tie under original MLS rules). Stillitano remarked that Firmani left New York saying, ‘May no good come to this club.’ He noted that it wasn’t said in anger, and indeed Firmani was not the kind of man to speak ill about anyone regarding the Beautiful Game. Football Show co-host Phil Shoen suggested that RBNY should reach out to Firmani to ensure his curse is now void. Stillitano dismissed the idea: there is no curse.

Keys to Leg Two Turnaround

Either way, the answer for the Red Bulls is simple. Bring out the best Starting XI possible, based on training during this week. Don’t panic. Remember the things that got them to the top of the table. Stay strong together. MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long and center back partner Tim Parker can keep the ball out of the box. Tyler Adams and Sean Davis can press up the field. Striking options are found in Bradley Wright-Phillips, Daniel Royer, and Derrick Etienne, Jr. Anyone caught sleeping in the first half can easily be replaced thanks to the team’s depth in the attack.

A bottle Champagne shipped to Eddie Firmani in Australia might not hurt, though.

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Sylvana turned in a gradebook for a press pass and has never looked back. After 15 years teaching, she realized after introducing her kids to The Beautiful Game that she loved it too. Thanks to some great people and amazing soccer organizations, she started covering the New York Red Bulls and is happy to expand her horizons with LWOS.

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