Gerhard Struber insists New York Red Bulls’ month-long winless run has brought his players closer together, but is keen to get back to winning ways against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday.
RBNY have drawn two and lost two of their last four matches to slip down to ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, most recently losing 3-2 to Supporters’ Shield leaders New England Revolution.
Struber’s side squandered a late one-goal lead in that defeat to the Revs, snapping a five-game unbeaten run on home soil, and the Austrian coach knows the importance of hitting back with three points at Red Bull Arena in midweek.
“The last few weeks have brought us more together. It’s given us a clear mindset of what we want,” he said. “That makes me proud. We want to reach the playoffs and for that we need results. Right now is a good time to get a run of results.
“I have big trust in my group and I think we’re very close to being a team with very good performances and results. We have to fight to bring the luck back in our fortress, and that is the big message I will give my boys.”
Cincinnati have gone even longer than the Red Bulls without a win, last picking up maximum points with a 2-0 triumph at Toronto FC in June – a run spanning six matches.
On the flipside, the Orange and Blue have lost just two of their last eight matches and head coach Jaap Stam is pleased with the strides taken by his side during the first half of the regular season.
“In what we are trying to do I think everybody can see that we are making progress,” he said. “The only thing is that sometimes if you look at the games we’ve played, we’ve needed to be a little bit more consistent.
“We are happy in what we are trying to do with the personnel that we have. They are very eager to win games.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New York Red Bulls – Caden Clark
Clark made his first appearance at Red Bull Arena since June 18 in the defeat to the Revs after undergoing an appendectomy and marked his return with an assist for Fabio’s goal. The teenage midfielder now has three assists to his name at Red Bull Arena this season to go with his four goals. That run includes a direct goal involvement in each of his last six home outings.
FC Cincinnati – Brenner
Brazilian forward Brenner has scored three times for Cincinnati since joining from Sao Paulo ahead of the 2021 season, each of those strikes coming on the road. It is hardly the most formidable scoring return, but his two-goal showing at CF Montreal last month is still fresh in the memory and the 21-year-old is Cincinnati’s best hope of getting a win here.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– FC Cincinnati have won the last two meetings with the Red Bulls, winning at MLS is Back and in New York in September. The Red Bulls had won the first three meetings between the sides, including two at home.
– The Red Bulls lost 3-2 to New England on Saturday after leading twice, the third time they have lost a match when holding a lead this season, tied with NYCFC for most in MLS. RBNY have dropped 13 points from winning positions this season, only Los Angeles FC (14) have lost more.
– Cincinnati have lost only two of their last eight matches (W2 D4) following a scoreless draw with D.C. United on Saturday. Cincinnati have kept three clean sheets in those eight games after failing to record a shutout in their previous 17 matches.
– The Red Bulls are the only team in MLS without a goal or an assist from a substitute this season. New York’s last goal contribution from a reserve was Brian White’s goal against Columbus Crew in last season’s playoffs.
– Only Emanuel Ledesma (four in 2019) has scored more away goals for FC Cincinnati in a single season than Brenner (three).