It was a beautiful sunny day at Red Bull Arena, with a crisp cold wind in the air. But it’s typical weather to open a brand new season as this was a celebration of a quarter of a century for the club and the league its self.
The main culprit who showed why he is still a big part of this club after missing a season and a half due to two ACL surgeries was French attacking midfielder Florian Valot. He showed why he was such a big part of the plans for Chris Armas.
Valot found Kyle Duncan in the 16th minute as he got a great ball from Daniel Royer from the near side of the field, puts the ball into space where Duncan can run into it as the trailer and then chips the keeper to open the scoring, but 11 minutes later Valot’s magic would work again.
Spencer Richey cleared the ball poorly as Duncan was able to head it towards Valot. Once again, it was Valot who found some space in the middle of the park, as he found Kaku who placed the ball inside the near post for the two-goal lead.
”Just really happy to be back on the field and get the win in the home/season opener.” said Valot “I’ve worked hard the last two years, and with the help of the guys, the coaches, fans, friends, and family, super rewarding
”As a team yes, I think we played very well. We were on top of everything. Playing together, pressing together, I think it was a really good 45 minutes.”
Yes, the Red Bulls opened the match with a sparkling 45 minutes, but when the second half began, it lost some sparkle. While Daniel Royer did score a third in the match, he did so in spectacular fashion.
Duncan was attacking with the ball and had numbers with him, he saw Royer all alone along the far side and gave him the ball. then Royer danced around four defenders and chipped the ball over Richey to regain a two-goal lead.
FC Cincinnati did score twice in the second half, there wasn’t much going for them in this match and the Red Bulls secured the first three points of the season.
Brand new Captain Sean Davis was happy, but new there was more work to be done. “It felt amazing, it’s a great first step, there’s still a long way to go.” said Davis “I think we controlled the game for the most part but we had a few lapses in concentration which we have to improve on.
I need to keep the team sharp mentally especially coming out of half time like that, that’s unacceptable. Other than that to win at home in front of our fans is honestly the best feeling, you know it’s a dream come true. I’m really happy with this but you know I’ll enjoy it the rest of the day and then it’s time to move on.”
And what were the thoughts from head coach Chris Armas? “We approached today with a must-win mentality, opening day. We’ve talked about the fresh start, the new year, and I think it’s 8 of 12 on the road, we talked how we can maximize our points at home.” said Armas “So regardless of the opponent and who was coming in, this was a must-win, and even for our supporters, who we thought provided a lot of energy from the opening whistle, and we felt that that helped.
”I think the guys for a lot of stretches played well tonight, and rewarded them with a victory and three goals. So big win for the team, and specifically, I would say that this was a nice continuation from preseason; that we see a team that sticks together, especially when things get a little bit tight, and we believe in that and the group believes in that.”
For the first match of the season it was a positive start, but there are still plenty of matches remaining where we could see an issue. But for now some positives are good, but negatives that need to be cleaned up, that’s what we will see with these challenges for this young side.