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Reflections on the Current Season

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Daniel Feuerstein

It's been a very interesting first half of the season as we have been through a lot in 2023. Outside of the situation with Dante Vanzeir, this season has had some ups and downs. The one issue that continues to plague the Red Bulls is their feast-or-famine scoring situation because while they look like a strong defensive team, their problem as of right now is the goalscoring department.

In 19 matches so far in all competitions, they have scored 13 times, and in two of those games, they scored multiple goals that lead to wins against Columbus & Montreal. But under Gerhard Struber five of their first eleven games, they couldn't convert a single goal. Their worst performance under Struber was in Montreal, before the change to Troy Lesesne.

Since the change Lesesne has brought in confidence, and better connection on the ball. It started with the Open Cup Fourth Round win against DC United, and that victory springboarded them into a better position in the Eastern Conference table. Now they are still below the playoff line, but they look to have a fighting chance now to get over the hump.

But there is still a bit of a disconnect on the pitch that needs to be corrected. While Corey Burke has been a strong signing, he continues to put himself into fantastic positions to convert chances, but there are times he just can't connect at the final moment. Obviously going to a new side can be a bit difficult, but at times it looks like he has to left feet out there. 

The communication on the attacking side of the ball has also been lacking as well. No one is looking and either the pass is too late or too early and the attack dies at that moment of disconnect. When you see Cameron Harper being active along the left side of the pitch, he brings the ball up beautifully, then makes a dangerous cross, but sadly no one is at the right spot to head it in.

But now that the club is currently on this two-week break from league action, this will give them the chance to finally get things fixed and the hope they can continue to play better under Troy Lesesne. He has now brought over a new assistant coach from his former side at New Mexico United, bringing over Zach Prince who was the USL Championship side's head coach.

Jochen Schneider has plenty of trust in Lesesne to run the entire 2023 season since he made the change after the loss to the Philadelphia Union. His current record is four wins, two draws, and two losses (The Open Cup game against FC Cincinnati is considered a draw, losing in the shootout is a different category) as the Red Bulls head coach. 

The bigger question coming toward the Red Bulls is this, what will they be doing in the summer transfer window, to help improve the squad, and will they finally go for a veteran who will impact the midfield, or now that Lionel Messi is transferring to Inter Miami, will the club look for a big name to bring them to the cathedral of football?

These are the questions that continue to plague this side since the Bradley Wright-Phillips era ended a few seasons ago. The club is good enough to dig out of the hole and is nearly at the edge, they dug themselves into. So now is the time to make a move and do it right.

Get into a better position and hope to salvage as much of the mess that they created.


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