Categorized | Commentary

Maybe not 'must win' but stakes are high on two game road trip

Posted on 30 March 2010 by ASN Staff

A glance at the Major League Soccer schedule tells you that all teams have played one game. Two Eastern Conference teams, the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards, won theirs convincingly. The New York Red Bulls join them with three points from a less convincing win. Now the Red Bulls must leave the friendly confines of their new home ground and head west for a two game road trip at Seattle and Chivas USA.

“Must win roadtrip” may seen a little harsh at this early stage in the season, But make no mistake: The stakes are extremely high and the pressure is on the New York Red Bulls to get results.

The Red Bulls celebrate in front of a packed house. Will this continue to be the picture after the ensuing two game road trip? ©ASN/Scott Marsh

The Red Bulls enjoyed playing their first two games at Red Bull Arena in front of a packed house. The Santos game was an announced sellout and the Fire game fell just short, most likely due to the frigid temps that hit the area on game day. Red Bull marketing staff had months to put together ticket packages and an advertising blitz about the “stage being set.” Kudos to them for a job well done as the Red Bulls are riding high and are currently more than a blip on the New York sports radar–at least for now.

As the Red Bulls head west to face the Seattle Sounders, a team that embarrassed them on national TV to open the 2009 season, the ticket and marketing staff has three weeks to pack the house before the next game at Red Bull Arena. A strong showing on this road trip keeps the spotlight on the Red Bulls, and will most likely mean coming home to play FC Dallas and the expansion Philadelphia Union in front of a mostly or entirely (if the weather cooperates) full stadium.

However, should the Red Bulls falter, as they have had a habit of doing in recent years on the road, should they get embarrassed in Seattle and then have a mediocre showing in Los Angeles, the ticket and marketing staff will have their work cut out for them.

So the team desperately needs a strong showing on this swing. Ideally if the team can win both games and come back to Red Bull Arena with a 3-0 record, it may “set the stage” for a special season—the type of season that will get supporters buzzing about making plans to visit Toronto in late November. At minimum the Red Bulls need four points from this road trip to continue the buzz. A draw in Seattle and a win at Chivas would most likely fill Red Bull arena for all of April.

But a poor showing will find the Red Bulls returning to smaller crowds than they experienced in the first two games. Red Bull wants and needs a full house for every game, and the pressure will be on for everyone in the organization from players to ticket sales to make it happen.

Winning teams sell tickets, sell merchandise, sell advertising. Losing teams not named the Chicago Cubs do not. So now it will be interesting to see this road trip unfold. In three weeks’ time, will fans be packing Red Bull Arena with visions of MLS Cup in Toronto, or will we hear those dreaded words ‘Same old Metro’?

We’ll know in three weeks.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. android Says:

    im kinda sick of the battery on my phone going down so fast, it annoys the heck outta me, see what happens, find a good site and BAM my battery is dead, so yeah, i luckily had enough battery to read this and post the comment haha, i have no life. yay me!

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