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Schwarz Has a "Great Feeling" Ahead of Red Bulls Home Opener

by Anthony J. Merced

New York Red Bulls are nearing their home opener of the 2024 MLS season on Saturday against FC Dallas and the new head coach Sandro Schwarz is anticipating the event. The German coach is undefeated in two games in 2024, helping the team pull through a goal-less draw against Nashville and coming from behind to win against Houston 2-1 last weekend. Now, with the home fans preparing to view their new team for the first time in-person, Schwarz is preparing for a unique experience.

"I have a great feeling and I am looking forward to that," said Schwarz during media availability on Thursday. "Yesterday, with the supporters, was a great event at the stadium with the whole team and coaching staff also. And my feeling about that is I'm excited for Saturday. I'm excited for our home opener to get the feeling on the touchline."

Last season the team started the season with a scoreless draw at home to Nashville and struggled to excite fans at Red Bull Arena. This is in stark contrast to previous years where the Red Bulls were one of the best teams in the league in Harrison, N.J. Schwarz and his team will look to replicate previous efforts and make the stadium a fortress for opposition, with FC Dallas being first on the list.

Dallas suffered a late loss last week to CF Montreal, allowing a 60th minute goal to decide the contest. The previous week they turned the tables on the San Jose Earthquakes in California but failed to capitalize on the momentum. Coming into Red Bull Arena, the opponents aren't in top form and are expected to be missing key players for the contest.

Meanwhile, New York is battling their own set of injuries. While Lewis Morgan made the difference in Houston, it appears that he is still not ready to play a full 90 minutes. Add that with John Tolkin's injury flare-ups, Peter Stroud's shoulder injury and other knocks means that both teams will be looking to win while not 100 percent.

"We have to do our job, first of all," said Schwarz. "We have to create these emotions in the home game like we did in the first two away games. This is our job with the whole team. We have tomorrow (Friday) as our last training session and we will start, on Saturday, our first experience with Red Bull Arena."

While the first two games are no indication of how the team will perform, New York appears to have regained their gritty nature from 2022. That season the team started strong and even earned a home game in the MLS Cup playoffs. As we know from last season, management was not satisfied with simply making the playoffs and expectations are that the team should perform near the top of Major League Soccer. A win over Dallas would help push that narrative.


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