Red Bulls Gird for a Busy September

Photograph by Matt Kremkau

Red Bulls logoWith seven games spread over 29 days, the Red Bulls will face a supreme test in September, beginning with Saturday night’s match at FC Dallas (coverage begins on UniMás at 9 p.m. Eastern).

“We know it’s going to be a tough stretch, but I think we’re all happy with the depth we’ve built,” Connor Lade said. “We have multiple guys who can play multiple positions and step in so it should be a seamless transition. We’re excited. We know there are a lot of important games coming up and it’s not going to be easy, but it will make us better in the long run. Hopefully we can pick up points and a trophy as well.”

After the game in Frisco, Tex., the Red Bulls again play on the road at the Chicago Fire on Sept. 9; then return to Red Bull Arena to face the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 17, a Sunday matinee. The Red Bulls (12-10-3, 39 points) are in fifth place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, four points behind Chicago and five behind Columbus. New York, however, has been poor on the road this season with a 4-8 record. Then again only one team — Toronto FC — is above .500 away from home, and two teams — New England and Colorado — are winless on the road.

After those three league games, the trophy Lade alluded two is the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Red Bulls will travel, again, to face Sporting Kansas City in the final on Sept. 20. New York closes out the month with two of three games on the road — at Columbus on Sept. 23 and at Toronto on Sept. 30 — with a midweek home game against D.C. United sandwiched in between on Sept. 27.

“The past couple of years we have emphasized that we need to be better on the road and this year we are not as good on the road as we like, especially against Western Conference teams,” Tyler Adams said. “With this stretch coming up and the U.S Open Cup being on the road and against a Western Conference team, we are going to try and string together a few tough road wins.”

Dallas has been in free-fall since late July, going without a victory in its last six games (0-4-2), going from the top of the Western Conference to seventh place, though tied on points with San Jose. The Dallas drop mirrors that of Chicago in the Eastern Conference, where the Fire has one win in its last eight (1-6-1). For their part, the Red Bulls have won seven of their last 12 in the league (7-4-1).

“We know it is going to be a very tough game, it is always a tough place to go and play at,” Lade said. “We know they have a very talented team and they will be very hungry to win at home so we are expecting another tough test on the road.”

Dallas is 6-2-5 at home this season.

Notes

The Red Bulls will be without defenders Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica), Fidel Esobar and Michael Murillo (both Panama) during the current international break. Lawrence will play in a friendly against Canada, while Murillo will be involved in two World Cup qualifiers. Dallas will be missing Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges, both of whom are with the United States national team. Also missing are: Tesho Akindele (Canada), Maynor Figueroa (Honduras) and Carlos Gruezo (Ecuador). … Midfielder Daniel Royer remains week to week with an injury to his right knee.