PREVIEW – Two of the top three in the East meet on Sunday as the New York Red Bulls visit Orlando City. New York swept the season series from the Lions last year, with a pair of 2-1 wins. Both teams made the postseason in 2021; Red Bulls in seventh, Orlando in sixth and are now in third and second in the East respectively. Gerhard Struber hasn’t lost to Orlando in his career and his team can make history with a fourth consecutive away victory. Orlando will look to build off its three-game winning streak in all competitions. This will be the 16th regular-season meeting between the clubs.
Red Bulls can make history with a fourth straight road victory
Fresh off a 2-1 win against Hartford Athletic in the Open Cup, the Red Bulls will feel good about themselves heading into Orlando this weekend. Not only was it another win on their travels, but a game in which they pounced early and scored a couple of goals. After scoring seven goals in their first two games, New York has bagged just three in the five games since in league play. The club has lost two of that handful and remains winless at home. The scoreless draw against FC Dallas drew more frustration after dominating the course of the match. Scoring has slowed down a bit but the overall performances have been okay with the club sitting in third place.
A game away from home could be just what the doctor ordered, seeing as all the Red Bulls do is win away from Harrison. Should they win again, it’ll be the first time since the 1998 LA Galaxy that a team won its first four road games to start a season. They’ll also be level on points with Orlando in the very competitive Eastern Conference. Team selection could be a question due to the midweek game in the Open Cup. Wikelman Carmona and Cameron Harper are back to full fitness, and Caden Clark remains out. Patryk Klimala started against Hartford and could start this weekend, desperate to break his scoring drought.
Lewis Morgan has started out hot with four goals in all competitions thus far. Getting past a tough Orlando defense will be a nice test for this Red Bulls team. New York has a stingy defense in their own right, only conceding twice on the road.
The @NewYorkRedBulls have started the 2022 season a perfect 3-0-0 on the road.
With a win on Sunday, the Red Bulls would become just the 3rd team in @MLS history to win each of its 1st four road matches of a season and the 1st since the 1998 LA Galaxy. pic.twitter.com/yUIpMj8s40
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) April 21, 2022
Orlando City looks to keep pace with Philadelphia in the East
Many thought losing the likes of Daryl Dike and Chris Mueller to clubs abroad would have a negative impact. But manager Oscar Pareja has done a great job thus far. The Lions are off to a strong start this year, as their second place in the East table shows. Only two points off the Philadelphia Union, Orlando is riding a three-game win streak in all competitions. Striker, Alexandre Pato, has the wind in his sails, with two goals and two assists in the league so far. Youngster, Facundo Torres, is proving to be a good value with a goal and two assists to his name. But the man that deserves most of the shine is goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
The Peruvian showstopper is tied for the league lead in clean sheets with five. In fact, all four of Orlando’s league wins this year have come from shutouts. The latest is a 2-0 win at Columbus. Striker Ercan Kara scored in his second straight game, defender Rodrigo Schlegel grabbed his first of the year. Orlando and the Red Bulls remain the only two unbeaten teams on the road, the Lions have won twice and lost twice at home so far.
Orlando is coming off their own Open Cup success in midweek with a win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Look for this game to get physical, as the Red Bulls are the best tackling team in the league. They’ve also conceded the most fouls per game in the league. Orlando is second in MLS in duel percentage, able to win balls in the air.
Orlando has primarily lined up in a 4-2-3-1. The midfield pivot duo of Cesar Araujo and Junior Urso has been imposing on the opposition. Torres, Mauricio Pereira and either Benji Michel or Silvester van Der Water are a formidable attacking unit behind either Pato or Kara. Gerhard Struber has deployed his team in either a 3-4-2-1, 3-4-1-2, 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2. That tactical chess match between the managers is one to watch. Given the overall history between these two teams, expect another tightly contested game.
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) April 22, 2022