Image Credits: NY Red Bulls
After an offseason that felt like an eternity, MLS fans across the country can rejoice with the 2023 season kicking off this weekend. For fans of the NY Red Bulls, they will be starting off their season on the road with an away fixture to Orlando City, SC.
Whether or not the 2022 season was a success last season, all depends on which fan you ask. Last season the Red Bulls were defeated in the first round of the MLS Cup for the 4th consecutive season while all year they struggled to generate goal scoring opportunities or maintain a lead once they did get on the board. Not all is glum however, the Red Bulls did manage to improve across several metrics including points, wins and goal differential in a season in which they qualified for a record 13 consecutive MLS CUP appearances.
After a busy off season in New York, one which includes former captain and DPOY Aaron Long leaving on a free to LAFC and the signing of Dante Vanzeir for a club record transfer, Metro fans will be excited for the upcoming season with improving their goal scoring ability from last season while maintaining stability across the back line.
While it will take some time for the new pieces to fall into place, the Red Bulls will be retaining an exciting young core of players that will be looking to build upon their experience of the last few seasons. Regardless, players old and new will be hoping to kickstart the season with a positive result against a tricky opponent away from home.
There are many positive signs for the Red Bulls going into this fixture. This will be the 18th regular season meeting between New York and Orlando since Orlando City joined the MLS in 2015 and the Red Bulls holding the advantage across all meetings with a 9-6-2 record. At Exploria Stadium, the Red Bulls have posted a 3-1-0 regular season record and are looking to make it three consecutive victories in a row.
The Red Bulls have fared well in season openers, posting a 13-9-5 record in their opening matches of the season, including going an impressive 5-1-0 in the last six seasons. Additionally the Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last three road season openers going 2-0-1 in that time frame. Last season, New York were a force on the road and recorded their best away record in franchise history going 9-5-3 during the regular season.
Orlando will be going into their ninth season in franchise history after finishing in sixth place in the Eastern Conference in 2022. Orlando City has managed to stay unbeaten in every one of their home openers across the previous eight seasons. The Lions have won twice and drawn six times on Opening Day. However, they have managed to come from behind on four separate occasions, including three stoppage time equalizers in their first three seasons.
Their defensive record at home has been particularly impressive as of late, the Lions have not conceded a goal in a home opener since 2019 which was a 2-2 draw with NYCFC. Orlando managed to shut out Montreal in a 2-0 victory last season and held nil-nil draws against Atlanta United and Real Salt Lake in seasons prior.
New York Red Bulls: Dru Yearwood and Serge Ngoma are listed on the injury report with hamstring injuries, as well as Kyle Duncan who has injured his groin.
Orlando City SC: Defender Antonio Carlos is questionable for the fixture with a lower leg injury, as well as Jack Lynn and Favian Loyola with thigh injuries.
New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City SC Potential Line-ups
Red Bulls (4-4-2): Coronel; Duncan, Nealis, Reyes, Tolkin; Morgan, Casseres, Edelman, Luquinhas; Vanzeir, Manoel
Orlando City (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Smith, Jansson, Schlegel, Santos; Araujo, Cartagena; Torres, Pereyra, Ojeda; Kara
How to Watch?
New York Red Bulls v. Orlando City SC will face off at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL - 7:30 ET. Television coverage is available in English and Spanish through Apple TV MLS Season pass. Radio Coverage will also be available in English through TuneIn, the NY Red Bulls App and NewYorkRedBulls.com
New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City SC Prediction
After splitting the season series including a 1-0 loss at home and a 5-1 collapse at Exploria Stadium in the U.S Open Cup Semi-Finals, the New York Red Bulls will be looking to exact revenge against Orlando. After a positive preseason the Red Bulls will start their season with a victory and some much needed offensive production. However, expect Orlando to make things difficult and try to protect that excellent home opener record.
New York Red Bulls 2-1 Orlando City SC