This Saturday the New York Red Bulls will meet Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m ET.
Here are the Keys to the Game, presented by TriHonda Dealers:
Build Momentum After Draw in ATL
Getting an away point against Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was important for the team. Many players are stepping up and helping the team get results as pointed out by Captain Sean Davis.
“Yeah, again I could go around the horn and talk about different performances, but the first few that come to mind. Obviously, [John] Tolkin has really stepped up lately and we all knew that he could do that. He is a guy everybody loves in the locker room, a guy we are all pulling and to see him step up, we are not surprised, but we are happy for him. Then, I’ll talk about Sean Nealis, a guy that does not get talked about probably enough,” said Davis. “He is becoming a leader on the field, and I think that is great for his growth and he is the guy that is always talking in the backline and, a guy that is continuing to gain experience in MLS and someone I think we can continue to count on.
He continued: “Again, these guys have a long way to go, but they are taking the right steps and I am really proud of Wiki [Carmona]. I think he did a great job; this was his first start, and you can see he is fearless, and I think that is one of the best things about these young guys, they stepped in, and they do not think too much, they just play their game, and it makes a huge difference.”
Against Orlando City, RBNY will need to bring that same fearlessness in order to achieve a second positive result against a team that sits in second place in the Eastern Conference Standings.
RBNY, One of Six MLS Teams with Four Clean Sheets
Last season, the team achieved five shutouts during the whole season; meanwhile, this season after ten games played, they already picked up four.
“I'm very happy with the whole team, in our defense structure, with our behavior, with our style of play. I think the backline did a brilliant job from Carlos [Coronel], Sean Nealis is outstanding, I think he won every aerial duel and he is so reliable, at the moment,” said Head Coach Gerhard Struber. “Kyle [Duncan] did a brilliant job and J-Mi [John Tolkin] is so young. We played here in this atmosphere with so many supporters against us, and the young players were brave with courage. I loved it. I am very proud of the whole backline, Andrés [Reyes] did a brilliant job. Tom [Edwards], very reliable too.”
The Red Bulls' ability to move around their playing structure as the game progressed and still pick up a shutout says a lot about how Struber and his coaching staff have improved the team’s backline.
Orlando Has Scored Ten Goals in Last Three Games
The Lions will host the Red Bulls after defeating Inter Miami CF 2-1 in Fort Lauderdale. In their last home game, they put five goals past the San Jose Earthquakes.
Nani currently has six goals, while Daryl Dike, who’s back after his loan-spell with Barnsley, already scored two goals in 161 minutes played.
With all that being said, New York are still the only team to defeat Oscar Pareja’s men in the current 2021 season.