Coming off their tough loss to rivals New York City Fc, the New York Red Bulls look to regain their form as they host Orlando City at Red Bull Arena. This is the first of three games in just seven days for the Red Bulls who play in a semi-final and another MLS match later in the week. First and foremost, they face an Orlando team that is full of star power and attacking prowess.
Orlando has been in horrid form in the past four months. They have won just two of their last 17 matches including a loss to Miami FC in the US Open Cup fourth round. The team has not looked the same as they did at the beginning of the season where they won six of their first seven.
The club did make an enormous signing recently, bringing in US international Dom Dwyer to partner Cyle Larin up top. The forward was not having the most prolific season with Sporting Kansas City prior to his transfer, scoring just five goals for the club. The move to Orlando is a huge one for both the player and the club and Dwyer should certainly not be taken lightly by the Red Bulls. Having already scored a brace with Sporting KC earlier in the season against New York, the team will certainly remember and respect his skill.
For the Red Bulls, they have a few questions to answer before kick off. Defender Sal Zizzo picked up a second yellow late into the derby match against NYCFC, so he will not be available for selection. This means new signing Fidel Escobar could finally see his first minutes in a Red Bulls kit. Michael Murillo will more than likely get the nod to start, but Escobar could see some second half minutes off the bench if Jesse Marsch needs to tighten up the back line.
Another change to the lineup will come as Daniel Royer sadly will not be available for the match either. The free scoring Austrian was taken off early in the second half against NYCFC due to a knee injury which will reportedly keep him out for about two weeks. Alex Muyl is a likely replacement for this issue, but there is always hope that Marsch finally starts Veron up top.
With a busy week coming up, many new faces could sprout up in the next three matches for the Red Bulls. Midfielders Dan Metzger and Dilly Duka could see time as well as forward Muhamed Keita, should he return from injury. The prospect of new faces on the field should excite Red Bulls fans as they are finally getting what they have been asking for. The new signings may not be exactly the caliber they were expecting, but they are much needed depth nonetheless.
Marsch will have a tough decision to make heading into the match against Orlando. The club has a massive semi-final match against FC Cincinnati just three days after, so a good amount of squad rotation should be expected. The likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan may see reduced minutes to prepare for the cup match, meaning youngsters like Sean Davis and Derrick Etienne will need to step up and produce.
The Red Bulls are also still fighting for a playoff spot as they are tied for fourth on 35 points with Atlanta United. They are just three points ahead of Columbus in sixth, so there is really no room for error as the season winds down. Despite having a game or two in hand on a few teams in the East, the Red Bulls desperately need to avoid a post-derby loss slide.
Honestly, though, losing to NYCFC started the Red Bulls six match unbeaten streak in all competitions. If anything, the loss should be nothing more than another starting point for the club to build from. They have a lot of important matches coming up, and starting their tough week with a win at home to a dejected Orlando team is the perfect place to start. The Red Bulls know after their 1-0 loss to Orlando earlier in the season that the game could be scrappy, but there is no way that Marsch and company are going into this game with anything less than three points on their mind.