Photo Courtesy of Riley Lorenz

Possible turning point of season for Red Bulls after dominant performance

On Saturday night, the New York Red Bulls (5-8-6) took on Atlanta United (7-9-5) and left the pitch after a sensational performance at home. Naturally, the performance made the game more enjoyable for the crowd after dominating Atlanta, 4-0. Throughout the game, the fans fueled the Red Bulls and made the stadium an electric atmosphere. Not to mention, the Red Bulls Pride-themed presentation helped the fans get into the game that much more and helped the energy of the team. It appeared as the crowd began to become more involved in the game and the team reciprocated by increasing their intensity. 

Although this game wouldn’t be considered a huge rivalry for the Red Bulls, many supporters tend to enjoy beating Atlanta. In 2018, Atlanta United won the  MLS Cup in their first year of existence, eliminating the Red Bulls during their run. During these hard-fought battles between both clubs, there were controversial calls that may have altered the game. Therefore, many of the fans have yet to forgive Atlanta because some believe that could have been the year the Red Bulls may have won a championship.

Both teams appear to be struggling this season and do not appear to be contenders. Despite some beliefs, the Red Bulls have the potential to turn their season around and prove many doubters wrong midway through the season.

New York Red Bulls Suffocating Defense

In the first half, the Red Bulls were playing with a ton of energy as the crowd appeared to be very into the game. However, about 11 minutes into the match the energy began to dwindle due to the failed opportunities by the Red Bulls. Their on-ball pressure allowed them to get several shots on the net, unfortunately none of the shots went in. Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Edelman finally broke the tie in the 17th minute on an inbound play to give the Red Bulls the lead. 

“I was really happy to get on the scoresheet, it was a little extra boost. It helped my confidence and I think the second half last game was a spark for me to really try and elevate myself in this game,” Edelman said in the post-game conference. “Scoring a goal, and then seeing other guys perform the way they did today and getting four goals and a clean sheet, I mean, that was the ultimate performance and that’s the standard. That’s what we need to do every game.”

After seeing that first goal by Edelman, the team and crowd naturally picked up their energy and the momentum continued to build from that point forward. For a moment, it appeared the Red Bulls couldn't capitalize on the opportunities created by their suffocating defense. Outside of Edelman’s goal, they didn’t find the net until the closing minute of the half. On another breakaway, an opportunity created by the defense led to an easy shot on the net for midfielder Cristian Casseres

“Me, Cristian [Cásseres Jr.], and Frankie [Amaya], I mean honestly buzzing, and Peter [Stroud] did amazing when he came on. Dru [Yearwood] was rock solid in there,” Edelman continued. “Ronald [Donkor] had a great boost off the bench. I think all of us really were connected today and to get goals from midfield it’s only going to benefit us because we know the guys up top can finish.”

Frankie Amaya Shocks Many by Performance

While the game appeared in the Red Bulls' control, the exclamation mark midfielder Frankie Amaya left sealed the deal. In the second half after being subbed in, Amaya managed to score two big goals to help secure the victory over Atlanta. At moments, the Red Bulls appeared to struggle to fight for that third goal, however Amaya found a crease and dropped the ball right over the goalie's head for the goal in the 79th minute. After the goal, he followed this up with another goal within the closing minutes of the game that appeared to be innovative and just determined the kind of special night it was for the Red Bulls. 

"That's my guy and I'm happy for him,” midfielder Omir Fernandez stated. “Today, he was able to score two goals and hopefully, it's not just two goals for the rest of the season, and that it's just the beginning. We know he plays a big part in the team when he comes to play and I think today he showed that with the minutes that he got. It takes only 13 minutes for him to make a big difference. We need him and we need him fit. We're happy for him today." 

Turning Around of the Season

The Red Bulls have had some tough moments this season, including games that they played tough but couldn't secure the win. Some understand the record of this team doesn’t represent the potential they can play at. On Saturday night, they proved what they’re capable of and this possibly may have been the turning point of the season as they attempt to make a push for the playoffs.