This weekend, history will be made when the New York Red Bulls visit Charlotte FC. It’ll be the first ever regular season matchup between the teams, and second game overall. The teams have already met earlier in late May, a 3-1 win for the Red Bulls in Montclair in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. Since then, the clubs have gone in opposite directions while the newest team in MLS has already undergone a managerial change. So let’s take a look at how this game shapes out.
Red Bulls visit Charlotte FC in first-ever MLS regular season game
Red Bulls looking to continue sparkling form
The 4-1 win against D.C. United before the international break was just what the doctor ordered. It was a welcome sight for home fans to finally see their team get a home win. That was made even better by seeing two stunning goals by Luquinhas and Lewis Morgan. The former has been sensational in his MLS debut season, while the latter is also playing great and leads the team in goals. Both are playmaking, difference-makers that have improved the squad. Patryk Klimala shined in the Open Cup game between the teams, grabbing a goal and an assist.
Sitting in fourth place in the East, the Red Bulls are locked in a tight battle in the table. They are just three points off of first place, and just two points in front of Orlando City. The stretch of games will soon come, so the international break was a help, as manager Gerhard Struber talked about. “We have time to be sharp in transitions with a better staggering, also in buildup moments that we create more power in this direction,” said Struber. “Yeah, we have right now a little bit more time to prepare the boys deeper in the principles and also, right now it is Charlotte time, and we prepare everything from now on in a match plan direction for what we want on Saturday”.
Ahead of the team's first trip to Charlotte, Head Coach, Gerhard Struber, spoke to media.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) June 9, 2022
It is indeed Charlotte time, which also brings the terrific road form into play. Red Bulls will look to bounce back after losing their last road outing, 2-0 at Inter Miami, and win a sixth league game on their travels. Statistically, this team ranks high in most of the major categories. Charlotte will have to once again deal with the suffocating pressing of the Red Bulls.
Charlotte play first league game after sacking Miguel Angel Ramirez
The dismissal of Miguel Angel Ramirez was and still is, a stunning decision. By an expansion team no less, who enter the weekend two points off the final playoff spot. A team that many people believe are overachieving, punching above their weight in Major League Soccer. The sacking is well-documented, with defender Christian Fuchs the latest to speak out on what happened behind the scenes.
Now interim manager Christian Lattanzio will be tasked with picking up the squad as they face the Red Bulls. Whether things change tactically, we will soon find out but there are promising signs of this club. Karol Swiderski and Ben Bender have been really good signings, the former with four goals and an assist to his name thus far. Young Ecuadorian midfielder Jordy Alcivar has been a creative spark plug and one to watch. And, the team has won five of seven games at home. It’s the second best home record in the East, sixth overall in MLS, only conceding five goals.
Back ✌️ work pic.twitter.com/RzfFHuXw6a
— Charlotte FC (@CharlotteFC) June 7, 2022
The sky hasn’t fallen on this club, despite the backstage turmoil that has occurred. Losing 2-1 at Seattle didn’t help, but this team is still formidable and will give many teams a tough time. This is where we will see what this expansion club is made of. They’ve suffered a rocky beginning in a new league, have righted the ship and then sacked their manager. This home game against the Red Bulls could be a turning point in their young season.