The Red Bulls recorded their first win in over a month, defeating FC Cincinnati 1-0. Connor Lade was the unlikely hero as he belted home a first half goal following a beautiful backheel by Danny Royer.
Bradley Wright-Phillips missed the game due to injury, which gave Brian White the opportunity to start the match. He went 86 minutes without recording a shot and was bullied most of the game due to his size. Luckily, the other veterans in the team stepped up and had solid performances.
Apart from his goal, Lade had a strong game defensively for his team. He made four tackles and made seven recoveries. Amro Tarek and Tim Parker also had strong performances, combining for six aerial duels won and a well deserved clean sheet.
It certainly was not the prettiest victory the club has had in recent memory, but they got the job done. Grinding out a result like that will give the team a lot of confidence and hopefully turn the tide in what has been an abysmal season.
Supporters may not be used to it yet, but this may be a multi-game type of system for the Red Bulls. Being able to put their heads down and fight for results while sacrificing a bit of flair could be what this team needs. That being said, their lone goal did come courtesy of a well timed backheel flick from Royer.
Unfortunately, the Red Bulls now have to deal with the LA Galaxy, who are in fantastic form. LA has only lost once this season, winning seven and drawing once. There is no surprise who is leading this team, and it is nearly impossible to stop him.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been on a tear this season, scoring eight goals in seven appearances. He only failed to score once this season after the Galaxy drew 0-0 with Minnesota United. Other than that, Zlatan has been, well, Zlatan.
No matter the situation, Zlatan seems to continually execute the most outrageous goals. His aerial prowess is unmatched and he can redirect a ball that other players only dream of getting a hold of.
Aaron Long has been very quiet this season coming off his back to back Defensive Player of the Year awards. He has not been nearly as effective, which is a sudden change for such a promising player.
Long will need to shake off whatever is hindering his performances, because Zlatan will dominate him if both players go in on their current form. The Galaxy have plenty of other weapons, too, so the Red Bulls cannot focus all their efforts on stopping Ibra.
MLS veteran Chris Pontius will likely start up top with loanee Carlos Atuna and Sebastian Lletget rounding out the attack. The trio has been Zlatan’s support this season, especially since Frenchman Romain Alessandrini suffered a knee injury just over a week ago.
Defenders have played a big role for the Galaxy this season, pitching in on both sides of the ball. The Galaxy’s second leading goal scorer is center back Daniel Steres, while right back Rolf Feltscher leads the team in assists.
It comes as no shock that this team sits in second place behind LAFC in the Western Conference. The Galaxy also have a game in hand, so they could realistically land in first place following this match.
The Red Bulls also have two games in hand on most teams having only played eight. Two consecutive wins could push them as high as fourth place, so this game against the Galaxy will be big in terms of early season positioning.
With another home game coming on Wednesday, the Red Bulls need to at least fight for a draw in this match. The Galaxy are not a team to be messed with this season, so despite being at home, one point would be seen as a great return for the team.
Chris Armas will continually be under fire until the Red Bulls regain their old form, but until then, he just needs to keep the team from falling too far down the table. This game against the Galaxy will be a massive test for this team, so expect to see a strong showing from the Red Bulls.