This is it. The one remaining match of the New York Red Bulls’ MLS season. One last hope for the club to win the Supporters Shield on the final day. They sit just one point behind Atlanta United with the odds tilted in the Red Bulls favor.
Atlanta has to travel to Toronto to take on Giovinco and company in their final match. The Red Bulls need Toronto to pull out at least a draw if they want any hope of bringing home the shield.
Toronto has been nothing short of miserable this season. Greg Vanney could not revive his team after their heartbreaking loss to Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions League final. Atlanta are the clear favorites in this one, but anything is possible on the final day.
The Red Bulls will be at Red Bull Arena for their final match as they celebrate supporters day. Orlando may not be the most formidable opponent, but the Red Bulls will certainly be looking for payback.
Orlando City hosted the Red Bulls in the reverse fixture back in March. A 4-3 instant classic ensued as both teams were hungry for some early season points.
At the time, the Red Bulls were playing quite a few bench and reserve players to stay fresh for the CONCACAF Champions League. Florian Valot scored and assisted a goal on the day as Derrick Etienne Jr. also added a goal.
Unfortunately, a Dominic Dwyer brace followed by an 86th minute Josue Colman winner saw Orlando escape with all three points. The Red Bulls will not forget that defeat and will be even more determined to get the win today.
VAR has played a big part in the Red Bulls season, and last match was no different. The team is coming off a 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union that saw a penalty decision given for a handball in the box.
Kaku slotted home the second half penalty to give the Red Bulls their eventual game winning goal. The Paraguayan has put in a subdued performance in the second half of the season, so hopefully this goal ignites him before playoff time.
Red Bull Arena could be treated to another goal fest between these two. The Red Bulls are always a threat going forward, but the bigger indication is the defensive frailties of Orlando City.
Orlando boasts the worst defensive record in all of MLS, letting in 73 goals in their 33 matches played. Their -30 goal differential is also the worst in the league, and their recent form only further proves those weaknesses.
One thing the Orlando City fans have not seen in a while was a win, which was achieved last week against the Columbus Crew. Two penalties were enough to see off the Crew in Orlando’s first win since July 14th.
Before that win last week, the club was dreadful. The strong start to the season feels as if it was years ago at this point with the defense mainly to blame for their misfortunes.
Chris Armas has already proven to the supporters that he does not get tripped up by these sort of trap games. Wins against the Earthquakes, Toronto, and the Chicago Fire in recent weeks all show that.
Armas just needs to finish his incredible season off on the right note. He has well exceeded expectations after taking over for Jesse Marsch in a record year for the Red Bulls.
Winning the Supporters Shield is by no means the main goal of the club this season, so the Red Bulls just need to focus on their result alone. Winning at home on the last day of the season would be a fitting way to close this MLS campaign.