July 18, 2012
THEIR STYLE OF PLAY
Red Bulls take the heat out of the match
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Red Bulls centerback Markus Holgersson was busy at both ends of the field during Wednesday's 1-0 win over Chicago, here battling Fire 'keeper Sean Johnson for a corner kick.
LInda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – Swedish international centerback Markus Holgersson still looked drained an hour after the Red Bulls' 1-0 win over Chicago, this despite what appeared to be the start of some major sunburn.
But even as he played on a field where temperatures topped 100 degrees at the 1 p.m. kickoff, Holgersson still insisted that Wednesday’s match was nowhere near as bad as last Sunday. In fact, Holgersson said that it “was better today than Sunday” but it had nothing to do with better hydration or familiarity with the heat.
It was the way the Red Bulls played.
“It was different today, we controlled the game and we didn’t control the Seattle game as much,” Holgersson told BigAppleSoccer.com. “We figured out how to play in the heat a bit more.”
The Red Bulls looked tired from the onset of the match, surely the by-product of playing an afternoon game on Sunday where they exerted a lot of energy chasing the game. But despite the apparent fatigue on Wednesday, the home side looked the more confident one in controlling the game from the onset.
New York created all the chances in the first half and knocked around possession almost with ease. They did little running but let the ball do the work. It was a smart approach as the Fire were forced to play defense and chase possession.
“We could have gone forward from central midfield in the second half much quicker but the players chose to have a lot of possession,” coach Hans Backe said. “But I can understand it with the heat.”
While the playing style helped, this was still a game played in triple-digit temperatures at kickoff meaning that both sides had to conserve energy as much as possible. And there was lots of pre-match preparation on their part to be ready physically.
Midfielder Dax McCarty said that he had five or six salt packets last night and they taste “God-awful, literally, terrible.”
“Even the guys who were a little dehydrated before the game, myself included, got a little IV before the game. It’s just the way you have to do it,” McCarty said. “You probably lose three, four, five pounds of fluid during the first half. It’s very difficult but we prepared the right way and it showed.”