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Editorial: Lewis Morgan is back with a Banger

photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein

What a big win for the New York Red Bulls and the beginning of the Sandro Schwarz era with four points in two matches. We all knew that Ben Olsen Bunker Ball would always be a challenge for this club, but at the end of the night, it was the visitors who got the big three points to take home back to Red Bull Arena for their home opener against FC Dallas. But this win was very special, because of a certain Scotsman who was missing for the majority of the 2023 season, Lewis Morgan who wasn't expecting to play a chunk of minutes. 

After the half-hour mark, Peter Stroud was tackled down hard and looked to have injured his left arm or shoulder. He was able to walk towards the far side touchline, the trainer tried to flex Stroud's arm and it looked like that was the end of his night, so Morgan was the first sub off the bench in the 34th minute. He looked pretty good out there in the first half as he helped his side start the play for their first goal of the season in the 43rd minute by playing in a weak spot against the Dynamo to find Emil Forsberg, who passed it to Dante Vanzeir, then a lovely cross off the head of Elias Manoel for the Opener. 

Still, you were hoping for more magic to come, and amazingly it did a minute just before the hour mark, when Morgan got some help, unexpectedly from the Dynamo. Artur crossed a ball and instead of going toward a teammate, it went right to Morgan. He got on his horse attacking the area, and just as he was a foot outside the Dynamo area, he ripped a laser for the top shelf and Shell Energy Stadium fell silent in horror. What a moment for him as he looked like he didn't miss a beat, and felt like his 2022 form when he ripped that Sportscenter top-ten moment against DC United.

"Yeah, I feel amazing. Obviously to be back, first and foremost. The goal helped us win the game. That's the most important thing. It was special to come back. I've been out for over a year and, obviously played some minutes last year, but I kept re-injuring myself. It's always good to start the season off well. I think we've done that. It is my little sister's birthday today, so I scored a goal on her birthday and that makes it extra special." said Lewis Morgan "I had some really serious injuries that are pretty much unheard of. So, it was a learning curve for me. It was probably the first time in my career that I’ve really missed time like that. So, it was really tough mentally to come through. That's what the support staff here are for. All the medical staff that helped me get to this point has been massive. It’s obviously been a long year. For me, I feel like I've got some time to make up for. Hopefully, tonight that can be the start of it."

 After suffering two bad injuries that knocked out his 2023 season and all of us knew the attack in the midfield was lacking very badly, now you see why having Morgan with Forsberg will be a deadly combination along with Manoel and Vanzeir. This is the reason why 2024 looks like it can be a magical season. Now, while seeing Morgan rack up more than forty-five minutes was fantastic, I honestly think Schwarz might have to pull back the reigns a bit. I'm happy for Morgan that he did well and converted, but in the mental aspect, maybe he needs to feel a bit more comfortable and hopefully not have another injury.

It's nice to have Lewis Morgan back, but right now maybe we see Cameron Harper in place of Peter Stroud until we get the full diagnosis of his injury. But eventually, for the majority of the season, we will see Lewis Morgan start and go the full 90 minutes. We need him for the entirety of the season, not just for right now. There might have to be some squad rotation as well down the road, but once again this is a happy time to see Lewis Morgan coming back and looking like his old self again. After all, it's bangers only.


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