The New York Red Bulls played their first match at the brand new Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, April 9, and left with their third road loss of MLS 2017, extending the team’s current winless streak to four games.
In the 34th minute, an into-the-mixer corner from Will Johnson found Servando Carrasco in front of goal. The Orlando midfielder headed in for the only goal of the match.
The entire match was a foul-fest, a stop-start affair that provided ample set-piece opportunities for both sides. The Red Bulls couldn’t connect on any of them; Orlando City converted one.
On the bright side, much of the match saw the RBNY press doing its job of creating chances. In the 12th minute, Bradley Wright-Phillips had a big opportunity to open the scoring.
A good ball from Felipe found BWP between the Orlando CBs. But ‘keeper Joe Bendik was out quickly and BWP met both ball and Bendik around the same time. The inevitable collision saw the ball pinball off both men and roll towards the open goal - but Jonathan Spector was able to slide in and clear it away.
At the other end, Orlando was getting chances too. Luis Robles was kept busy, making two particularly important stops to keep his side in the game. In the 14th minute, Matias Perez-Garcia laid a nice ball to Carlos Rivas - but Robles’ left paw diverted the shot.
In the 67th minute, Sal Zizzo lost his mark and Cyle Larin was off on a breakaway - but Robles was able to win the one-on-one challenge.
At the end of the day, the Red Bulls were on the wrong side of the result and they head back home to try to fix their issues on the attacking side of the ball. For head coach Jesse Marsch - whose job is to make the best of things and rally the team for the next game - there are positives to focus on:
“For me, it’s obviously disappointing - given the control, we had at different stages of the game - to come out with no points. But for me that looked like us, that felt like us.” said Marsch, “I thought the spirit of the team - the commitment to go after the game, the commitment to make it hard on a hot day when we haven’t trained in the heat at all and in front of a great crowd and a hostile environment.
I think we made big strides in a game that wasn’t a result. Right now we’re going to use this as a little bit of a benchmark in this season to build off of, especially with the run of home games that we have coming up. We need to use that momentum to propel us into those matches and really kickstart our season.”
The run of home games is significant. Six of the next eight league matches RBNY plays will be at Red Bull Arena. The opportunity to end the current winless streak and start a more pleasing run begins with D.C. United’s visit to Harrison on April 15. The frustration of stretch of games without a win can now be channeled into the season’s first DC Hate Week.