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Editorial: New York Red Bulls are Fun to Watch

photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein

The New York Red Bulls 2024 season starts off and running. In their first three matches, they have looked different from their last five to six seasons of doom and despair when trying to attack or have a lapse in judgment on the defensive end. The two big editions for the club are undoubtedly the imports from Sweden in Centerback Noah Elle & attacking midfielder Emil Forsberg. Two players who are a part of the Swedish National Team have started off well in Major League Soccer.

We all knew what we were getting right away from Forsberg. A high-energy creative and attacking midfielder who was already bought in from day one, when Director of Sport Jochen Schneider went to Leipzig and brought him over. He was already committed to making the trip to the United States to play his brand of soccer, and so far he hasn't disappointed. Even though he has come close three times off of free kicks, hitting the crossbar twice and being saved by the keeper, Forsberg finally converted his first MLS goal from the penalty spot. He tucked it inside the far post sending Red Bull Arena into a frenzy.

But it wasn't just set pieces he looked dangerous in, he was also excellent at running with the ball and finding teammates who were running with him. When he received that header pass from Elias Manoel, Forsberg was on his horse and attacking down the far side, took a quick look to his left, and made a beautiful diagonal pass to Lewis Morgan, who finished it off. Took it right-footed and inside the near post to make it two-nil. The attacking has improved so far and has converted four times in three matches.

The biggest surprise and the most unexpected was Noah Elle who replaced Andres Reyes as the center back partner of Sean Nealis, and right now it's been fantastic. We all knew Elle was important to Swede's plans for their senior national team because he has done well for their youth national teams. Now, he's here in MLS moving from famed Swedish club Malmo FF to MLS and he has been rock solid in his first three matches as well.

He's tracked back on the defensive end, he's cleaned up messes inside his own area, helping out Carlos Coronel and you haven't seen Sean Nealis animated over mental mistakes inside the area. Elle has been a fantastic addition to the backline and to the club. He's also been amazing when he decided to join in on the attack or create an attacking run for the offense. In the season opener at Nashville SC, he delivered a fantastic looping ball toward Dante Vanzeir who caught Joe Willis by surprise and chipped it on frame. Sadly the ball hit the inside of the far post and out, but if that's the type of game Elle has in his arsenal, then the Red Bulls just got a steal of a transfer.

When you see these two players adding to the game plan and following Sandro Schwarz's directions, this could actually be a very fun season to have. You are seeing other players being confident with and without the ball. Would we like to see more goals? Of course we would, but right now everything is off to a hot start for the Red Bulls and at this moment, they are in a four way tie for first place along with Columbus, Miami, and Toronto as they have seven points in three games. Yes, it's early days, but right now, things are looking good early on. This is the type of soccer we have been missing for so long, and now it's the Forsberg-Elle era. Thank you, Sweden.


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