New York Red Bulls
Photo by Dave Janosz

Red Bulls hold off Houston to earn first win of 2024

The New York Red Bulls entered the win column after holding off Houston Dynamo FC in a 2-1 victory. New York improved to a 1-1-0 record while Houston dropped to 0-1-1.

The Red Bulls improved to a six-game regular season unbeaten streak at away games since last year. Houston opened up the match by scoring first after Ibrahim Aliyu (7’) netted one from inside the 18. New York caught up later in the half when Elias Manoel (43') was fed a perfectly placed header from Dante Vanzeir to level the match just before halftime. This was Manoel’s first goal of the season and made him the 29th different player to score the club’s first goal in their 29 years as a club.

The Red Bulls shortly took the lead after the start of the second half when a costly Houston turnover set up Lewis Morgan (59') for a perfect strike at the edge of the 18. This was Morgans's first goal since 2022 after dealing with harsh injuries last season. But the Scottish forward picked up right where he left off helping New York to their first win of the season.

“Yeah, I feel amazing. Obviously to be back, first and foremost,” Morgan said. “The goal helped us win the game. That's the most important thing. It was special to come back. I've been out for over a year and, obviously played some minutes last year, but I kept re-injuring myself. It's always good to start the season off well. I think we've done that. It is my little sister's birthday today, so I scored a goal on her birthday and that makes it extra special.”

Not only was this the first win for the club, but this was head coach Sandro Schwarz's first win in the MLS since taking the helm back in December.

"This is great," Schwarz said. "It feels good. After two away games, to have four points, that gives us confidence to get these results and to continue our process."

Though Houston possessed the ball more with a percentage of 55%, New York was the more aggressive team creating more chances and opportunities off of set pieces. The Red Bulls had seven corner kicks and another free kick from Emil Forsberg that rung off the woodwork.

The defense was just as big in this math for New York as the offense. The Red Bulls had 20 clearances and only gave Houston three corners. Goalkeeper Carlos Cornel shut down four of the Dynamo’s five shots on goal including a key punch-out save in the 89th minute. Coronel continues to be a big part of New York’s success.

“It was a great, great mentality, how we defended and especially in the last moments, the last situations in an away game,” Schwarz said. “… But the whole team did a great job in the mentality, to get the result, to get these three points. But, we can improve some things, especially when we control the ball and we are very dominant and when we have very good situations to counter press. … To get these results, with this fighting spirit, this is what we need.”

The Red Bulls head back home to Harrison, NJ for their next match. This will be their home opener at Red Bull Arena as they take on FC Dallas on Saturday, March 9th with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"Now we have to prepare for our first game in our stadium, for our supporters," Schwarz said. "This is very clear. We have to continue and we can be satisfied today, but we have to work hard in the next week. We are looking forward to playing now in our stadium, with our supporters."