By Tyler Trent
John Tolkin signs a poster for a young fan. Photo courtesy of New York Red Bulls.
Results from last season?
The New York Red Bulls had a strong season last year where they ultimately finished 4th in the Eastern Conference and made it to the Semi-Finals of the US Open Cup.
Charlotte FC played three matches against the Red Bulls last year. In the first meeting, Charlotte was able to secure a 2-0 victory at home. In the last match of the season, the Red Bulls took the 3 points with a 2-0 win of their own. The two teams also met in the US Open Cup in a tightly contested and fiery match where the Red Bulls eventually won 3-1 and advanced to the next round.
The New York Red Bulls allowed their prior DP striker, Patryk Klimala, to leave during the off-season. However, they replaced him with another DP striker in Dante Vanzeir. Vanzeir was highly touted coming into the league as a goal-scoring force. After 3 sub appearances, he scored his first goal for the club a match-winner against the Columbus Crew last weekend.
The Red Bulls also brought in veteran forward Cory Burke from the Philadelphia Union and re-signed Brazilian Elias Manoel on a permanent deal from Grêmio. Elias Manoel scored two goals in the final match of the season last year against Charlotte FC.
The Red Bulls also had some key departures in the off-season including veteran defender Aaron Long joining LAFC through free agency and young Caden Clark joining Red Bulls Leipzig in Germany.
Players to watch?
Dante Vanzeir – As previously mentioned, the Belgian striker entered the league this off-season with a lot of hype. In his past three seasons in Belgium, he scored 43 league goals and added 5 more in other competitions. After getting his first MLS goal last weekend, Charlotte FC will have to buckle down in defense and not allow Vanzeir to continue with confidence up front.
Lewis Morgan – Morgan was arguably the Red Bulls best player last season scoring 17 goals in all competitions. Morgan was at the heart of a lot of the fiery moments between the Red Bulls and Charlotte FC so it will be interesting to see if that continues and if Charlotte can negate his influence on the match.
John Tolkin – The young fullback scored 2 goals last season for New York. Tolkin also received his first cap for the senior USA National Team earlier this year. He has had a fast start to the season already providing two assists to his team. The Red Bulls defense has been pretty sound as well only giving up 3 total goals in 4 matches this season.
Outlook For 2023
The New York Red Bulls preseason predictions were all over the place, however most pundits have them within the 4-8th place range in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls have made the playoffs for 13 straight seasons, so it’s likely we will see them in the top 8 this season once again. Their strong pressing style can be stifling for opponents, but hopefully the early match against St. Louis City was a good enough warmup for the Red Bulls version for Charlotte FC.
Be sure to checkout MLS Corner on the TopBin90 YouTube channel tomorrow night at 9pm EST where we will further preview and discuss the match up as well as the win against Orlando City. We will have special guest Lloyd Sam. Playing 6 seasons in MLS, primarily for the New York Red Bulls. Sam also has impressive experience in his home country of England primarily with Charlton and Leeds United, where he played in the top three divisions in the country. Now, Lloyd Sam is known in Charlotte FC for his color commentating skills for the club and now Apple TV.
The Red Bulls have shuffled their lineup around in each match with a variety of players getting a chance to impress. Dante Vanzeir hasn’t had a chance to start for his team yet, but we could see that change this weekend against Charlotte FC.
In their first win of the season against Columbus Crew, the Red Bulls rolled out this starting eleven:
Graphic courtesy of New York Red Bulls.
I think we will likely see a similar lineup in our matchup, but I would lean toward Vanzeir getting his first start of the season.