Red Bulls

Red Bulls look to fend off Charlotte in Eastern Conference clash

The New York Red Bulls (6-3-5) will host Charlotte FC (6-5-4) on Wednesday night in what will be the season's first meeting between these two Eastern Conference clubs. This game could significantly impact the Eastern Conference standings, as New York currently sits in fifth place, just one point ahead of Charlotte.

Red Bull are coming into this game fresh off of a 2-1 defeat in the Hudson River Derby against New York City FC on the road. That was the Red Bulls' most recent match, and it's been 11 days since then, which has served as a well-deserved break for the players and coaching staff, according to team captain Emil Forsberg.

I think it [the break] was good for everybody. Of course, we wanted to finish off with a win, especially against NYCFC. I think we did not play well, we deserved to lose. I think we did not put on a good performance, but I think overall the days were good. I think everybody could clear their head a little bit, just relax, and yeah, just not think about soccer that much and I think people got to be with the family.

So, it was good. Now it is game on, I think we had really good days now before this game. I think we have been training with high intensity, I can feel that the boys are excited to be back and we are happy to be back and we want to win and get that win at home. We are strong at home. We have that confidence and yeah, we are looking to get the victory tomorrow. 

The good news for the Red Bulls is that they are coming back home to Red Bull Arena, where they have gone 3-0-2 this season. In addition, the Red Bulls are currently unbeaten in their last eight home games across all competitions, and if they win on Wednesday, they will become the second team in franchise history to go unbeaten in their first six home games to open a season.

Yeah, it is important, what I said before, it is now the second period, 11 games. So, the first 14 games is now over and I think it is a good result. It is a clearer picture, how we want to play, how we want to create the atmosphere and so we missed some points especially in some additional times in some games, but now it is the focus, you know, 11 games and now is the focus, step by step, the first game tomorrow. It is an important game against Charlotte FC. So, this is our main focus for tomorrow and then to keep these three important points in our stadium, in our club, for our supporters.

- Red Bulls head coach Sandro Schwarz

The game will be a contrast of styles: New York's fiery offense versus Charlotte's strong defense. While Charlotte FC is tied for allowing the fewest goals (13) in MLS this season, New York has generated the second-most goals (25) as a team in the league.

Forward Elias Manoel is one player New York can rely upon to make an impact in the attacking third against Charlotte. The 22-year-old Brazilian will be looking to continue his recent form, which has seen him score six goals in four career appearances against Charlotte FC.

Coach Schwarz touched on what his team needs to do to be successful at breaking down Charlotte.

They have a very good defense behavior, back four behavior, when they drop back so they played the last games very compact in a lot of moments. So, we have to create a lot of situations. That is not enough when we create only one, two, three moments per half. So, we need a lot of good sequences, a lot of good deep runs, and a lot of good moments in our counter-press to keep the pace then in our style and for the deep runs I think this is necessary for the game tomorrow. 

Forsberg has led this team successfully through the first 14 games of the season. The Swede currently ranks second on the team with four goals and tied for second with three assists.

Forsberg echoed his coach’s statement that Charlotte is a good defensive team and shed some light on how New York can counteract that.

We got to keep going, keep being dominant in the way we play and attack more from the sides with crosses, stuff like that to hurt them even more. They have good defense, they are strong, but with the way we play, we are trying to be dominant, trying to get the one-two in behind. I think we have a lot to gain. It is going to be a tough match, they are a good team, but we are confident at home. We want to be dominant, we want to control the game, and that is what we are going to go out and do and create as many chances as we can.

Red Bulls fans can watch and see if their team will make history tomorrow night by streaming the game live on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass.

Anthony Paradiso
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