As many have noted on this and other websites, RBNY have evolved their game model this season, becoming less direct, more comfortable in possession and willing to work from a deeper block. Yet Wednesday’s win was something of a throwback, hinging on plenty of swift transitions and ruthless exploitation of opponents’ errors. And it was achieved by a lineup with several changes due to this busy phase of the calendar.

“Flexibility is a good key word. But don’t forget,” noted Schwarz, “we showed this the whole season, that we can switch positions; not our principles, our principles, this is our key, how we want to play. But we need to have players from the whole roster and it’s good to have this competition in every training session. Not only to have 10, 11 12 players and to hope that nobody is injured or something like that. We need the whole team in a good spot and to be ready when the moment is coming.”

Claiming six points in five days also helps vanquish the lingering sourness from that painful 6-2 shellacking at the hands of Inter Miami on May 4, a match the Red Bulls led 1-0 at halftime before cratering brutally in the second stanza.

RBNY now sit third in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the overall league table (6W-2L-5D), and have lost just twice in MLS play this year: That humbling in South Florida and a 3-0 setback against the defending MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew in Ohio in March. They and their supporters will be highly motivated to extend that form in Queens this weekend.

“It’s built-in that we’re going to be up for it. We always are. We’re always ready to battle,” said winger Cameron Harper, whose cool finish for RBNY’s second of the night was his second goal in as many games, of the NYCFC clash. “We know it’s going to be a really tough game, and they’ve been doing actually really well, and they’re a good team. But we’ll move on and game plan as of tomorrow and how we can best play against them. It’s always a tough game when you go to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium, so I think we’re really looking forward to it.”


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