Thu, 05 Oct 2023

Things starting to look up for Red Bulls, Orlando City

Field Level Media
03 Jun 2023, 08:40 GMT+10

The records don't look all that good for either Orlando City or the New York Red Bulls, but their outlooks aren't quite as dim ahead of their showdown Saturday night in Harrison, N.J.

Orlando City (5-4-5, 20 points) has played 14 games -- fewest in the Eastern Conference -- so there's time to make up ground. One of their wins was a season-opening 1-0 home victory against the Red Bulls.

"I think we're going in a good direction and performing much better," Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said. "Getting close to what we want to see."

The Red Bulls (4-5-7, 19 points) topped Inter Miami 1-0 on Wednesday night to cap a 3-2-1 record in MLS games in May.

"(That result could) send us in a different direction for the rest of the year, I hope," Red Bulls coach Troy Lesesne said. "We want to focus on Saturday and close out this stretch in a positive way."

With a 3-1-3 home record, the Red Bulls have been solid on their home pitch. The 13 goals allowed by New York mark the third-fewest in the MLS, but the Red Bulls have scored a league-low 11 goals.

"We have to be critical of ourselves when we have those opportunities," Lesesne said of missed scoring chances.

There are signs that the offense could be perking up.

"Just to kind of get the attacking players working off each other a little bit more and kind of trying to get different looks," Red Bulls forward Tom Barlow said. "We're creating a few more chances each game, so hope we keep that going."

Less than a month ago, Lesesne was elevated from assistant coach to replace Gerhard Struber as head coach. There have been various adjustments.

"He has brought a different energy to the team," Barlow said. "He has given a lot of guys some good opportunities and putting us in some little better positions. Trying some new things, and guys are loving it."

Pareja said he expects to see tweaks in style from the Red Bulls compared to the February meeting.

Ercan Kara and rookie Duncan McGuire share the team-high mark with four goals for Orlando City. No Red Bulls player has scored more than two.

In all-time meetings, the Red Bulls have won nine games, Orlando City has claimed eight wins and there have been two draws.

--Field Level Media

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