Preview: New York Red Bulls (h).
When? Saturday October 3, 1.30 p.m. PT, 4.30 p.m. ET and 9.30 p.m. BST.
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? MLS Live on Fox, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports App for residents of the United States. DAZN in Canada. Sky Sports Football for us U.K. folk. The game is available locally, check local listings.
The Red Bulls are an intriguing prospect, particularly when you consider recent results. After a change in management; Chris Armas was replaced by Bradley Carnell, a few weeks ago. Their overall record of 6 wins, 6 defeats and 2 draws has been boosted by back-to-back 4-1 wins over Fort Lauderdale and Montréal. Prior to this little renaissance, the New Jersey based outfit had lost 7 of their last 10 games. Armas was relieved of his duties part way through that horrendous run.
Red Bull's style
The Red Bulls are a team, who are more than happy to let you have the ball. Carnell's team registered 35% and 38% of the possession across both of their recent victories. With the likes of Cristian Casseres Jr and Florian Valot in midfield they have players capable of winning midfield duels, which allow them to hit teams on the counter effectively. Casseres Jr won 170 duels in 2019, ranking 34th in the whole league. Florian Valot, meanwhile, has averaged 2.2 tackles per game so far in 2020. The Red Bulls will allow their opponents to have the ball, before pouncing on mistakes and loose balls. They then like to get the ball forward to the likes of Daniel Royer et al, who are more than capable of finding the back of the net.
This will be a solid test. Particularly for a team that's, potentially, going to be considerably depleted by injuries...
For Oscar Pareja's team there are a number of injury concerns, with the squad's depth set to be truly tested in the coming weeks. Ruan is listed as questionable following the hamstring concern which saw him leave the field early, in Dallas, last week. Moutinho and Rosell are continuing to fight their way back to full fitness. This game may come a little early for them.
Matheus Aiás is still undergoing medical protocols, as per the club's recent announcement. Sebas Mendez will also serve a one game suspension, following his red card in Texas. Dom Dwyer remains on the season ending injury list. Pedro Gallese's inclusion is up in the air, with the 'keeper caught in the middle of a tug of war between MLS and the Peruvian football federation. Brian Rowe will deputise if the Peruvian is unavailable for selection.
As for the visitors, Patrick Seagrist (knee) is definitely out. Sean Davis (knee), Ryan Meara (hip) and Marc Rzatkowski (undisclosed) are all listed as questionable for this game. Kaku has been called up to the Paraguayan national team, and is believed to have travelled already. Though the Red Bulls are yet to confirm this. Watch this space.
Possible starting XI
Bradley Carnell made wholesale changes from the team that won 4-1 in Fort Lauderdale, for the game against Montréal. That was with a short turnaround in a travel week. The Red Bulls should be well rested, so you do wonder if they'll name a similar starting XI. Kaku, possibly, will be absent. It would make sense to keep fresh(er) legs on the bench. The likes of Mathias Jorgensen and Brian White could be great options, from the bench, in Orlando.
I would expect them to line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, so as to counteract Orlando's own use of the formation.
The former Austria Vienna attacker has been a consistent performer since his arrival at the Red Bull Arena, back in 2016. The Austrian, who has 6 caps for his national team, has scored 38 times across104 appearances for the Red Bulls. A true goalscoring midfielder, he will surely be one to watch out for on Saturday evening. His trademark runs into the box, have kept many an MLS defender on their toes. He has found the back of the net 4 times this season, grabbing 1 every 3 games. He scored in the dismantling of Montréal Impact last time out. He'll be desperate to do so against Orlando.
This game has been widely billed as the clash of two of the MLS' form teams. Orlando City are currently 7-5-2 on the season so far, and sit pretty in 4th place in the eastern conference standings. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are 6-2-6 on the season, and are sat in 7th. They have won successive games by 4-1, making it 3 wins from 5 for Carnell. They'll be confident heading into this match-up.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com