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Talking New York Red Bulls with Once a Metro

We reached out to Ben Cork and our friends from Once a Metro to talk about the upcoming Union vs. Red Bull match on Saturday.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

RBNY currently is sitting in fourth place with two wins and two losses. What helped them on those wins, and what hurt them on their losses?

Putting a full 90 minutes together has been the main challenge early on for the Red Bulls. Gerhard Struber’s men largely missed out on preseason friendlies and have struggled for the match fitness that Struber’s intense pressing system requires. After defensive lapses in the first two games left an exhausted team unable to come back, the Red Bulls now have two consecutive clean sheets where they controlled from start to finish and will hope increasing fitness and familiarity with Struber’s system will keep the trend going.

From the outside, it seems that Caden Clark is the hottest player on New York and one of the hottest in MLS. Where does Clark make his best plays, and where are his weaknesses?

Clark has understandably gained attention for his goalscoring, but particularly in the last match against Toronto it was his off-ball contributions that earned the most plaudits. The Minnesotan is a fantastic counter-presser whose work winning back the ball led to the opening goal and kept Toronto’s midfield honest.

If there’s any weakness in his game so far it’s a lack of strength in the tackle and long passes, but the teenager’s slick passing and hard running is carrying him along well in the meantime.

Who else should Union fans watch for? Is there someone who flies under the radar that makes a big impact?

Though he hasn’t gotten on the scoresheet yet, Brazilian target forward Fabio Gomes Netto might be the MVP of the Red Bulls’ first month of 2021. He leads the league with four assists and his hold-up play and aerial ability have been crucial to New York’s offensive danger so far.

What’s your score prediction and why?

With the Union coming off a midweek game, the Red Bulls will likely come out aggressive but leave holes at the back leading to a 2-2 draw.