The Red Bulls reached the Eastern Conference final in 2014, but few gave them a chance of doing
anything in 2015 after the exits of star Thierry Henry, who retired, and Tim Cahill, who moved to China, and the
decision to replace popular coach Mike Petke with Marsch. The departures of Henry and Cahill, two of the highest-paid players in MLS, transformed New York from
having one of the highest payrolls in MLS to one of the lowest.
The Red Bulls began the season with only one Designated Player, Bradley Wright-Phillips, who was given a raise after tying the league's record for most goals in a single campaign with 27 in 2014.
BWP scored two goals and added an assist in the win over D.C. United to give him 13 goals and seven assists in 25 games.
"When Bradley drew the yellow card early in the game on [Steve] Birnbaum," said Marsch, "he was injured. His toe was bothering for the rest of the game. To get two goals and an assist while you're limping around on the field is a big accomplishment. He's dynamic. I think he's shown what a complete player he is. I would argue that he's been much better this year than he was last year."
The Red Bulls also allowed veteran defender Jamison Olave to return to Real Salt Lake, leaving them with an inexperienced backline, but it has been one of the best in MLS.
"I think Damien [Perrinelle] and Matt [Miazga] have been a very good pairing," he said after the shutout win over D.C. United. "We obviously think very highly of [left back] Kemar [Lawrence] and his ability physically."
The win over D.C. United -- its longtime rival -- was perhaps the biggest of the season by New York, but Marsch did not want to put too much int it.
"It was another step forward," he said. "There's a lot to play for at this moment and if we stop for a second then we could slip so we're going to keep our pedal on the floor."