Red Bulls have discovered the key to success: not playing soccer

There’s an old sports adage that goes “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” It’s a cheerfully optimistic viewpoint, encouraging people to reach for lofty goals, no matter how unattainable they appear to be.

It’s probably something some state lottery commission made up. Or a tacky pick-up artist. Or Ronaldo. But what about the other side of that folk wisdom logic? You also don’t miss any of the shots you don’t take.

Thanks to an incredibly effective “You win 100 percent of the games you don’t play” strategy, Red Bull New York is the only remaining undefeated team in the Eastern Conference. Most teams will have played five league matches by week’s end, but New York Original Flavor has only played three times, going 2-0-1.

It would be great to credit new coach Jesse Marsch for having the insight to implement these “just don’t play” tactics, but the Red Bulls are simply the beneficiaries of the MLS schedule-makers, who either love a good joke or don’t work sober.

Whatever the reason for their good fortune, there’s a great lesson here. If the Red Bulls can overcome their history of slow starts (1-1-4 last year, 1-3-2 in 2013), then anything is possible – assuming you have the courage to just stop trying. If you or your Eastern Conference soccer team reach a point where you’re comfortable, stay there. Don’t do any more. All you’re doing is increase the likelihood of messing up a good thing.

Will RBNY adhere to this bit of flawless wisdom? Of course not. They’ll foolishly tempt fate and travel down to the murder house known as RFK Stadium next week. But if it quits now and calls an end to 2015, New York would end with an undefeated season and the Atlantic Cup. Why be greedy?

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