The New York Red Bulls are trending upwards and have put their winless streak behind them. The Bulls had one of their worst starts to a season, putting themselves in last place, but after managerial changes and player changes, the team is right back on track.
Former Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber was named officially head coach in 2020. He took charge over for interim coach Bradley Carnell following the firing of Chris Armas. During his first season in 2021, the Austrian led the club to a 13-7-12 record and a seventh-place finish. He took the team to the playoffs for their 12th season in a row, but were knocked out of the first round by the Philadelphia Union.
Struber had a better 2022 season, finishing 4th with a 15-8-11 record. However, a repeat of 2021 occurred after getting knocked out in the first round by the 5th seeded FC Cincinnati. Struber failed to dominate over its counter partners while coming out trophyless for two seasons.
This resulted in watching his cross-rival team NYCFC win its first MLS Cup in just eight years of existence. He also received backlashed of his handling of Dante Vanzeir’s allegedly racist comment on the pitch in April. After failing to win a match since March, Struber made the decision to leave the club. This leaves interim coach Troy Lesesne in charge for the remainder of the season.
Hudson Derby Victory
After a 1-0 win over D.C United during the U.S Open Cup, they welcomed familiar foes to Harrison New Jersey. Heading into the game, the Bulls were the underdogs after losing both league derbies for the first time in 2022. However, with New York City F.C riding a two-game losing streak in the league, it was the perfect chance for the Red Bulls to get their first win.
Despite losing the battle in possession, the Red Bulls took advantage of counter attacks and broke the tie with Omir Fernandez’ screamer from outside the box during the 76th minute. This gave the Red Bulls their first win since March.
Changes at the Forward Position
The Red Bulls had to consistently change their formation and players to try to find some success in winning matches. The team expected Elia Manoel to be its star forward, but has struggled to start the season that saw him start six times in 12 appearances with just one goal. Tom Barlow has also been an option to start, but has found it difficult to score goals as well.
Finally, the team has chosen newly acquired Corey Burke for some luck with scoring goals. He got his first start in two games last Saturday against Montreal and did not disappoint. After a VAR check, Burke scored what was later the game-winner to give them their second home victory this month. This was a huge win for the Bulls, bringing them to 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Return of Dante Vanzeir
Dante Vanzeir was suspended by the team after racial accusation during a match against the San Jose Earthquakes in April. Instead of an immediate release from the roster, the Red Bulls forced him to complete a comprehensive program that included emotional accountability training and cultural sensitivity sessions while on suspension.
After weeks of taking the courses, the team made an anonymous vote to agree to allow Vanzeir back to the team. He came off the bench with a wave of cheers and boo’s from the home crowd. The Belgian signed to the club in February as a designated player from Union Saint-Gilloise. He will continue starting off the bench until he can improve his form.