What we learned from the New York Red Bulls Home Opener

Dante Vanzeir debut in Red Bulls home opener vs Nashville SC

Analysis– The New York Red Bulls welcomed Nashville SC to Red Bull Arena for their home opener. Burned from a loss to Orlando City, the Red Bulls were looking to re-establish the fortress of Harrison, but could only muster a scoreless draw, here’s what we learned.

What we learned from the New York Red Bulls Home Opener

You’ve got to burn to shine

Red Bull Arena joined the league in honoring the memory of Grant Wahl with a memorial display in the press box. A tireless advocate of the game in the United States, Grant was a friend of all media representatives, and his legacy will live on.

The game itself was sluggish and occasionally disjointed. John Tolkin registered the first of only three shots on goal for the match in the 11th minute. Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis deflected the ball easily, and was not overly taxed from then on. Across the board, Nashville boasted better organization around the pitch. Undaunted, New York pushed on while Nashville was entirely unable to find any chances.

Defender Cameron Harper has taken a page from his teammate Tolkin, earning his second start in as many games. Harper’s ability to disrupt and cover ground gave his teammates the ability to link more passes together. As the game progressed and Harper really got his feet under him, chances increased. New York maintained dominance in the attacking third, but were lacking the final spark towards the goal.

I believe you’re feeling fine

With the atmosphere of Red Bull Arena ringing in their ears, the home team felt the gravity of the moment. Manager Gerhard Struber expressed his gratitude in the post-match conference: “I think we had a great support today. I think the atmosphere was good, and I think the fans deserved more today, especially from our side.” Following the silence of closed-door matches during the height of the pandemic, teams feel the electricity of a well-attended match. A fan-centered experience has brought new life to Red Bull Arena; if goals and points follow, the atmosphere will skyrocket.

Mama always said

Belgian Designated Player Dante Vanzeir came on in the 76th minute to a welcoming crowd. Fans have clamored for an exciting attacker and feel Vanzeir fits the bill. Sensing this, Nashville immediately sought to break his stride. He created chances and drew fouls, already showing  glimmers of the dynamic attacker he will be. As he works his way to full fitness, he has already proven to be one to watch in MLS this season.

Woke up this morning

With some daylight between the match and this analysis, it is easy to find some optimism. Nashville SC showed themselves as a cohesive unit on the field. If the Red Bulls achieve that level of cohesion, there could be no stopping them. They need to come together as a team, a family.

Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports on March 4, 2023, of New York Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir (13) and Nashville SC defender Shaq Moore (18) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA.