New York Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber believes his side sit in a “sexy” position in the Eastern Conference but urged focus against CF Montreal.

The Red Bulls have collected 10 points from their first five matches in 2022, and could go top of the East with victory on Saturday.

They did rely on a late own-goal to nudge past New England Revolution last time out, and Struber felt that intervention stands his team in good stead.

“The win in New England shows a sexy picture, but we still have so many to-dos,” said the Austrian manager.

“I think now is the time for a big win at home. This is my expectation on Saturday for my boys, for my coaching staff and for me that we have to win at home. We have to show our fans our power from the first second and how much work we’ve put into our style of play.

“I think then it is very difficult for Montreal. When we are on the same page and have the right energy and tactical setup in every phase of the game, then I have a very good feeling we win this game at home.”

Montreal have just one win to their name this campaign, though that did come in a 4-3 thriller against Cincinnati last time out, and coach Wilfried Nancy expects another tough task.

“I’m not surprised. I know my team and I know they can make this kind of mistake,” Nancy said.

“I’m not worried. It requires adjustments. What I’m proud of is that the players found a way to win the last game. Yes, defensively we conceded three goals, we have to be better, but we scored one more goal than the opponent.

“For the Red Bulls, playing at home or away, it doesn’t change much. This is not a possession team. It’s a counter-attack team that puts a lot of intensity on the second ball.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Red Bulls – Patryk Klimala

Patryk Klimala may be a star attacker but his creative work should not go unnoticed, against the Revs he laid on a game-high four chances for his team-mates.

CF Montreal – Djordje Mihailovic

Djordje Mihailovic scored a brace against Cincinnati, and he is likely to be Nancy’s most dangerous outlet here.

KEY OPTA FACTS

·The Red Bulls have won 11 of their 12 home regular season matches against CF Montréal (L1, also L1 in the playoffs). New York’s 91.7%-win rate is the best home winning percentage against a single opponent in the regular season in MLS history (min. 8 meetings).

·The Red Bulls last 12 home matches have all ended either 0-0, 1-0 (for or against) or 1-1 (W4 D6 L2). Neither New York nor their opponent has scored more than once in a Red Bulls home match since a 3-2 Revolution win in July last year.

·CF Montréal has conceded 14 goals through the first five matches of the 2022 season. Only two teams have allowed more goals at this stage of a season in MLS history: Minnesota United (20) in 2017 and Portland (15) in 2019.

·The Red Bulls’ 1-0 win over New England on Saturday was the 18th consecutive game in which they’ve held their opponent under two goals. If they hold Montreal under two goals they will tie the longest such streak in league history, set by FC Dallas in 2010 (19 straight).

·CF Montréal has scored three first-half goals in each of its last two matches, including the 4-3 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. This is the eighth time in MLS history a team has scored three times before halftime in consecutive matches, something no team has done in three games in a row.