Lewis Morgan, Red Bulls
Photo by Shaquan Woody

Lewis Morgan's March Madness for Red Bulls

The 2024 MLS season is entering its seventh week, and the New York Red Bulls are already on a hotter start than last year. Through six matches played, New York is 3-1-2, totaling 11 points, which puts them tied for second place in the Eastern Conference standings just behind FC Cincinnati. In those six matches, the Red Bulls also scored nine goals in March, with their lone February game resulting in a 0-0 draw against Nashville SC. But no one in the entire league, let alone New York, had a better month of March than the Red Bulls' number nine, Lewis Morgan.

Morgan's 2023 season was cut short due to lingering injuries he couldn't play through. The midfielder eventually underwent successful hip surgery in September that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Morgan only made five appearances in the MLS last year but worked all offseason to return in 2024.

"Short-term, it's just really to stay healthy," Morgan said at the start of the season. This is something that I had never dealt with, but I did have very big, major injuries last year that maybe not everyone knew about. Some of the hip flexor injuries I had were almost unheard of. I had much stuff I was dealing with last year and short-term over the start of the season."

At the end of the season's first full month, Morgan has recorded six goals and one assist and started four games. The Scot is already back to his normal self and scoring ways. In the club's match against Inter Miami CF, Morgan recorded a hat trick against his former club and earned an MLS Player of the Matchday award for his performance. The midfielder has also earned two Team of the Matchday honors this month.

"Just playing with this team, in general, is amazing," Morgan said following the 2-1 victory over Houston. "After spending so much time out, to be back out there and helping the team and suffering with them as well the end of that game… We had to suffer through the last 15 minutes and it's just a testament to the kind of feeling of being out there with the boys instead of watching them home on the TV a is an amazing feeling. So being out there playing with all the guys is an amazing feeling."

What made Morgan the "Man of March" is his ability to quickly adjust to the players around him, no matter the formation or position he's in. Swedish midfielder Emil Forsberg came to the Red Bulls in December and quickly became a vital member of the squad, including being named team captain. Morgan and Forsberg developed chemistry, which showed in their matches against Houston and FC Dallas. The Swede and Scot duo combined for three goals and an assist in those two matches, which quickly caught the attention of MLS.

"I think Lewis has her quality striker/10," Forsberg said after the match against Dallas. "He has fantastic runs, like I said for me to find him it's always easy. He has a good finish so he's a key player for us. I'm happy for him that he's back he was away a long time. He took his time but now he's finally back. And like I said, he's a very important player for us and is going to be that for this year."

When Forsberg left for international duty against Miami and sat out for the Orlando SC match due to a hamstring injury, Morgan's partner in crime became forward Dante Vanzeir. The Belgian assisted all three of Morgans's goals against Miami and added an assist on Wiki Carmona's goal, totaling four assists in one match.

Red Bulls' head coach Sandro Schwarz had high praise for the way Morgan has played so far and how quick his recovery has been.

"Yeah, it's just magnificent, the way that he's playing today," Schwarz said after the Orlando match. "For the whole team, also, to work hard. Especially now after his injury to play 95 minutes today. He's a very important player for us. With his intelligence on the field to find the right space in good moments, to find the right timing for deep runs was good. He played today very clearly in some moments and that is what we need. We are very happy about his spot now, about his attitude, and also about his performance because off the field he is a great guy, a great person, and very helpful for all of us."

Morgan and the Red Bulls face one of their toughest challenges yet as they head to Cincinnati on Saturday to face the defending Supporters Shield winners. Cincinnati is currently at the top of the Eastern Conference with 12 points, while New York sits just a point behind. A victory against the blue and orange would be huge for the Red Bulls as they would jump into first place. Morgan will look to keep his goal streak going as he continues to be an integral part of the club.

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