New York Red Bulls
Photo Credit: Sarah Middlesteadt

Red Bulls Show Flashes of an Improved Team in Season Debut

The New York Red Bulls officially kicked off their 2024 season at Geodis Park, facing Nashville SC. Though the final whistle drew a 0-0 tie between the two sides, the match had plenty of action and a lot of positives for New York.

The Red Bulls dominated the first half in possession, keeping the ball in Nashville's half for most of the half. New York led the game overall with 53% possession. The Red Bulls were also not afraid to shoot the ball, recording 16 total shots (four on goal).

Midfielders Emil Forsberg, Frankie Amaya, and forwards Dante Vanzeir and Elias Manoel wouldn't quit trying to find the back of the net. Nashville keeper Joe Willis refused to let one pass him, as he had four saves to maintain the clean sheet. Three of those shots hit either the post or crossbar, leading to multiple unlucky breaks for New York.

This was Red Bulls head coach Sandro Schwarz's first game coaching in the MLS. Although hoping for a win, Schwarz was impressed with the club's performance on both sides of the ball.

"Our defensive behavior, our offensive transition, the mentality and how we defend was very good," Schwarz said. "I saw very good moments. I'm a little disappointed about the result, but the way the whole team played was very good. Now, we have to continue."

This was also Forsberg and defender Noah Eile's debut in the MLS. The Swedish midfielder played the full 90 minutes with six shots (two shots on target) and 41 completed passes. Forsberg was a key part of the club's offense, setting up multiple chances for a goal, though none came to fruition.

"I'm feeling good. I'm happy to have my debut crossed off the list," Forsberg said. "I think in general we played a good game. We controlled the game for a long timeā€¦ We didn't let too many chances but of course, we have to convert. We had some good chances, and a little bit of bad luck. In general, happy to have been able to make my debut, it was a good feeling. There's a lot we will take with us from this game."

New York keeper Carlos Coronel had a light day, seeing no action until close to the 60th minute, saving three shots.

The match was nothing short of aggressive as Nashville committed 13 fouls (three yellow cards) and New York committed 15. Nashville captain and former Red Bull captain Sean Davis briefly earned a red card in the 26th minute for a high kick causing a collision with Red Bulls' Peter Stroud. However, after further review under VAR, the red card was reduced to a yellow.

The Red Bulls remain unbeaten against Nashville, and Coronel earned his fourth clean sheet against the club. New York will head to Houston on Saturday to face the Houston Dynamo FC and look for their first win of the season.