The first six weeks of the MLS season have been confusing for Red Bulls fans, and rightfully so. Here we stand at the beginning of Week 8… and we’re really good.
There have only been few hiccups in the 450 minutes the Red Bulls have spent on the pitch so far this season, and surprisingly so. With such great turmoil off the field in the offseason, everyone expected a similar disaster on the field.
However, as the season began, the team worked hard to make everyone forget the events of the offseason. Here are a few reasons for Red Bulls fans to get back on the horse and rejoice in the success of the club so far in 2015:
1. The Red Bulls are the last undefeated team in MLS.
With last Friday’s victory over San Jose, the Red Bulls remained undefeated. On Saturday, the only other undefeated club in MLS, Real Salt Lake, fell to Vancouver at home 1-0, leaving New York standing alone as the only undefeated team in MLS. Speaking of Vancouver.
2. New York has three games in hand on the Supporters Shield.
At the time of this article’a publishing, Vancouver sits atop the Western Conference, while the Red Bulls hold first in the East. Even better news for Red Bulls fans is that Vancouver’s league-leading points total of 16 is through 8 games played, while the Red Bulls hold 11 through 5. New York needs only a win and two draws through the next three games to catch the Supporter’s Shield leaders, and only two wins in the next three games to pass Vancouver in the Supporter’s Shield standings. The only other teams able to catch Vancouver through eight games are D.C. and Seattle, and both would have to win out to get there.
3. The Red Bulls leads MLS in Goal Differential.
There were many questions in the offseason about whether or not Bradley Wright-Phillips would be able to equal his production from last year’s Golden Boot-winning campaign with the departure of Thierry Henry. Through the first five games of the season, although his goal conversion percentage has gone down from 2014 (27g/57sog vs. 2g/9sog), he has been able to increase his assists numbers. In his first five games of the 2015 season, BWP doubled the total number of assists in his entire MLS career. Wright-Phillips is a much more generous player this season, and the statistics certainly show it.
Of the 9 goals scored this season by the Red Bulls, Lloyd Sam has scored 3, BWP and Mike Grella have each scored 2, and Damien Perinelle and Sacha Kjlestan each have 1.
While the goals are being spread around, the defense is also stepping up to prevent the Red Bulls’ opponents from scoring, with the most notable performances coming from Damien Perinelle and Matt Miazga (Perinelle is one of three players to play all 450 minutes of the season, the others being Luis Robles and Chris Duvall). The stingy Red Bulls defense has only allowed 4 goals, tied for first in the league with Houston.
4. Red Bull Arena is a fortress once again.
Both home games this season have been systematic and surgical destructions of the visiting team. Marsch’s boys are pitching a shutout at home through two games, with a cumulative score of 4-0. Red Bull Arena is a particularly exciting place to be this season – let’s hope it stays that way.
5. “Junior Varsity Manchester City” is no good at soccer.
Although this may not directly be a reason why the Red Bulls are really good this season, it always feels good to poke a little fun at “Man City Lite.” While the Red Bulls are averaging 2.2 points per game through five games played, NYCFC are averaging 0.86. ‘Nuff said.
The New York Red Bulls have been really good so far this season. If you haven’t been watching them, start. And if you have been watching them, keep doing so. Forza Metro!