On Saturday May 1, 2021 the New York Red Bulls took the field at Red Bull Arena with the Chicago Fire.
First-year manager Gerhard Struber filled out his lineup card looking for his first Major League Soccer (MLS) Victory in his second game at Red Bull Arena. When the Austrian from Red Bulls Salzburg player made changes before this afternoon's game.
Those changes included a 4-1-2-1-2 formation, which included starting Frankie Amaya in a central attacking midfielder (CAM) role with rookie midfielder Caden Clark on the left-wing and two-year vet Christian Casseres Jr. on the right-wing. Three-year veteran striker Tom Barlow got the start and was paired with offseason signing Fabio up front. Carlos Colonel started his third-straight game between the sticks for New York after coming over from Red Bulls Salzburg in the winter transfer-window.
Saturday's First Half
In the first half, neither team distinguished itself too much. The Red Bulls made some good passing plays deep in Chicago's territory, but could not get that quality chance. Past the 20th minute, Christian Casseres Jr. headed on a pass to Tom Barlow.
The 26-year-old forward dribbled and pushed the Chicago defense back before laying the ball off for Caden Clark. Clark proceeded to strike a shot from distance that was saved by Chicago Fire's Goalkeeper, Bobby Shuttleworth,
Shortly after the half-hour mark, the Chicago Fire put a nice play together. Spain international had plenty of space to fire a long ball to the top of the Red Bulls 18 yard box. Chicago's captain, defender Francisco Calvo won a header in the 18 yard box. Then the Costa Rican flicked the ball up in the air and took a bicycle kick from the top of the 18, on target. Nevertheless, the stout Red Bulls goalkeeper Coronel was able to grab.
Fabio gets First Chance
The Red Bulls loaned out Fabio from Brazil's Serie B in February. The big, tall striker had his first chance in a red and white uniform late in the first half, when his partner in striking, Tom Barlow gave him a pass inside the Chicago 18 yard box.
Fabio took a moment to collect himself and shifted the ball to his right foot. Fabio, 23, took a low right-footed shot off the left post. The Brazilian barely missed scoring his first career MLS goal on home turf.
18-year-old midfielder Caden Clark opened the scoring for the Red Bulls with this wondergoal.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) May 1, 2021
Clark has been the team's brightest star since joining the team in October of 2020. The Minnesotan has scored five goals in just seven Major League Soccer matches during his brief career.
Second Half Notes
Nothing bigger happened in the second half on Saturday as the Red Bull's second goal. The Red Bulls' tall striker Fabio meandered down the right wing with the ball. He shook off a defender and cut back a beautiful pass for his teammate Christian Casseres Jr. who would seize the day.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) May 1, 2021
Casseres Jr. ran into an open-space, took the shot first time and scored his second goal of the season. The Red Bulls then took a 2-0 at Red Bull Arena. The assist was Fabio's second of the season and the Venezuelan International's second tally of the campaign.
In the last ten minutes of regulation, Chicago let the Red Bulls run all over the attacking-third. New York subbed on Omir Fernandez as an attacking midfielder for Clark in the 81st minute and he had a point-blank chance in front of goal that he shot into Shuttleworth's hands.
Then in the 87th minute, substitute Danny Royer received a pass and found himself just six yards in front of goal. However, the 30-year-old messed it up by turning his back to goal and attempting a shot that was blocked off a Fire defender, so chance wasted.
Overall, the Red Bulls played their best game thus far in the 2021 season. The players who started the game played cohesively and made good plays that led to their two goals on the afternoon.
Red Bulls' head coach Gerhard Struber was asked by MSG Network TV host Michelle Gingras how it felt to win his first MLS game at Red Bull Arena.
The Austrian said in his thick accent, "I'm very happy for for my whole coaching staff and very very happy for every single player. I think winning is helpful to make bigger steps in the process everyone will believe more and more in our principles."
On the MSG broadcasts of Red Bulls soccer, Shep Messing is the color analyst and he works with Steve Cangialosi the voice of the team. Messing has very direct and intelligent things to say about the team on the broadcast and, during the postgame show, the experienced former professional soccer player pointed out what the Red Bulls excelled at on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Bulls set the tempo, they were more aggressive, they won 50-50 balls, and at halftime Gerhard Struber told them to go out and win the game and they did.
- MSG Red Bulls color analyst, Shep Messing
Anthony graduated from Montclair State University, where he covered a variety of sports for three years. He co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on campus radio station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.