The New York Red Bulls will be playing Los Angeles FC for the first time in club history on Sunday. The game, at Red Bull Arena, is the Red Bulls’ ninth nationally televised game this season.
Both teams are currently in playoff contention with New York’s 41 points placing them in 3rd place in the East, and LAFC has 36 points in their 21 games played. Although LAFC is in a higher position in the Western Conference, RBNY is ahead in the Supporters Shield standing, a metric used to measure overall league performance.
Preview: LAFC’s First Trip to New York
Even though this game is the first ever played between these two teams, there is one person that has coached here before. Despite being coach for the MetroStars from 2003 to 2005, this is Bob Bradley’s first game back in the NY Metropolitan Area as an MLS coach since May 20, 2006 as the coach of Chivas USA. That game ended in a 5-4 win for the Red Bulls.
Coming off of an embarrassing loss to Columbus at home, the Red Bulls are looking to return to their winning style. LAFC is proving themselves a force to be reckoned with in the West. LAFC has lost just one time in their last 10 MLS games. That lost came in Minnesota in a 5-1 scoreline.
This game is LAFC’s only game in the NY area for the regular season, and RBNY’s fourth home game in their last five played. During this stretch, the Red Bulls have picked up nine points in the last four games played. However, if the team wants to continue to push for a chance in the Supporters Shield race, picking up three points on Sunday would be crucial.
Players to Watch
Although only scoring six goals so far this season, two of Royer’s goals have come in the last three games. Royer scored in the 2-0 win versus New England. He was also the only Red Bull player to score in last week’s loss at home to Columbus Crew SC. In each of those two games, he started and played more than 75 minutes. With these two goals, Royer has tried to capture his great playing style used in 2017. Daniel Royer will get playing time on Sunday, but the question remains will he start or come off the bench. This question should impact the amount of the goal-scoring opportunities Royer will have.
The captain of the 2018 MLS All Star Game, Carlos Vela is continuing his summer of success. The Mexican International scored eight goals in his limited time this season. Vela scored only once since May. It was a crucial goal to put LAFC ahead of their crosstown rivals the Galaxy in last week’s El Traffico. The game ended in a tie due to two Galaxy goals scored in the last 10 minutes. Vela will have a very large impact in the game. The Red Bull defenders will be very busy with him and the rest of LAFC’s attackers.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography