New York Red Bulls- Emil Forsberg
Emil Forsberg (Photo by Shaquan Woody- JSN)

Home opener happiness as Red Bulls stay unbeaten

The New York Red Bulls (2-0-1) couldn’t have had a better home opener as they continued their dominant start to the season, adding to the win column in a 2-1 victory against F.C. Dallas (1-2-0). There’s a new dynamic duo in Harrison, NJ, as Emil Forsberg and Lewis Morgan have controlled the game and the season so far.

Red Bull Arena was wild, well-attended, and, above all, wet. Despite the torrential downpour that lasted all 90 minutes, fans still showed up and showed out to witness the club's first match of 2024 at home.

New York was the more complete team in the first half, holding most of the possession and connecting passes. The Red Bulls drew first blood in the 30th minute after Morgan earned a penalty kick caused by a foul from Dallas’s Emmanuel Twumasi. Despite being the player who drew the foul, Morgan handed the ball to Forsberg to take the shot. The star from Sweden stepped up and went bottom left.

Goalkeeper Maarten Paes guessed the direction correctly but was too slow, making it 1-0 Red Bulls. This was Forsberg’s first goal of the season, not to mention for New York and the MLS.

“It’s better to score at home the first time, so it felt good,” Forsberg said. “It’s an amazing feeling, of course, to score the first goal—a little bit of a strong release from my shoulders. To be honest, I had two crossbars before. But I’m happy we got the win; undefeated so far… I’m happy about the team’s performance, and we move on.”

The Red Bulls were able to double their lead early in the second half after Forsberg played a perfect ball to Morgan, who found the back of the net, making it 2-0. Not only was this Morgan’s second goal of the season already, but it was also his second game-winning goal after he scored last week against the Houston Dynamo. After the Scot’s season was cut short last year, he’s already showing how missed he was by New York.

“Obviously, it’s always good to get goals,” Morgan said. “I think we performed really, really well until the end… when you win games like that, it’s really rewarding, but we want more control.”

F.C. Dallas stole one back just five minutes later after Jesus Ferrara got past the wall off of a free kick. Dallas gained more control in the second half, creating more chances and taking more shots. The Red Bulls parked the bus and tried to protect the lead instead of attacking further to increase it. In the end, it paid off as the Red Bulls secured their second win and first at home.

“After their free kick, to be honest, we got a little bit sloppy,” Morgan said. “In some games, when you go up 2-0, the other team’s got nothing to lose. We want a little more control, obviously, in the games… There’s no getting away from that [free kick], and we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

After the first three matches, the tandem between Morgan and Forsberg is a sight to see for this new Red Bull team. The new dynamic duo has three goals and one assist between them. The chemistry between them is showing on the field, and looks to create a lot more chances as the season progresses.

“I think Lewis is a quality striker,” Forsberg said. “He has fantastic runs. For me to find him is always easy. He has a good finish so he’s a key player for us. I’m happy for him that he’s back.”

The Red Bulls head back onto the road to visit the Crew in Columbus, OH. The defending MLS Cup champions are one of the four teams tied atop the Eastern Conference standings with seven points, including New York. Both teams will look to keep their undefeated streak alive while also earning all three possible points. The match will take place Saturday night at Field on March 16.

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