The regular season of the MLS is almost at a close and the New York Red Bulls are in a position in the MLS table, that guarantees a spot in the playoffs.
The campaign, on the whole, hasn’t been sensational with fourth the highest position the Red Bulls can finish but that doesn’t mean they won’t be celebrating a championship win in a month’s time.
Here are five reasons why they could go all the way to the MLS Cup showdown.
5) They Have the Beating of DC
The odds would suggest that both DC United and the Red Bulls will win their final matches – against Cincinnati and Montreal Impact respectively – which will see them face off in the first playoff round. Although DC will likely finish above the Red Bulls in the standings, they’ve failed to get the better of Chris Armas’ men this season, losing once and drawing the other. With that in mind, there is nothing for the Red Bulls to fear and if they’re on their game then they will progress to the next stage.
Last year, the Red Bulls had a terrific season in the Eastern Conference with a first-place finish and 71 points – 20 more than they’ll end up with this year – but when it comes to the MLS Cup it means nothing. That’s precisely how it proved last year with defeat to Atlanta United, who went on to lift the trophy, and there are plenty of examples where a ‘lesser fancied’ side has triumphed. Why can’t 2019 be the year of the Red Bulls?
3) Daniel Royer
Royer has been a big hit since joining from Danish club FC Midtjylland but the current campaign has arguably been his best yet. The midfielder has netted 14 goals in all competitions adding a further seven assists. Royer is a key figure in the middle of the park for the Red Bulls and his ability to create and take chances could be huge in games when things become cagey and teams try to pack the defense out.
It was only a few games ago that it looked like the play-offs might be slipping away from the Red Bulls after a run of poor results but a corner has seemingly been turned and they’re now three matches unbeaten – two wins (against Philadelphia and Portland) and a draw (DC United) – and three clean sheets changed have that picture dramatically.
Montreal Impact are next up on Sunday and a win there, which is expected, will generate further belief amongst the fans and ensure the team enter the play-offs as the form side; after all, it’s not about how you start but how you finish that determines your success.
1) At Some Point, It’s Got to Happen…Doesn’t It?
The looming playoff campaign will be the tenth straight season where the Red Bulls have been in the fight but, as you’ll be all too aware, that final step has eluded the club so far with the nine years yielding three conference finals and six semi-final appearances.
In over half of those seasons, the team have ranked number one in the conference and has, therefore, had to deal with inflated expectation, which brings additional pressure. Since the NY Giants are not looking good in the NFL odds for a Superbowl appearance, let’s hope the Red Bulls bring some joy to New Yorkers.
This year the expectation will be replaced with a combination of relief and excitement and that could tip the scales in the Red Bulls’ favor.
There you have it, five reasons why – even despite a lower than predicted finish in the Eastern Conference – you should consider backing the New York Red Bulls to spring a surprise ahead of November 10.
Featured Image: New York Red Bulls