The fate of Group E will be decided when FC Cincinnati take on the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night. Here are three things to watch for.
In the final group game for both, FC Cincinnati and the New York Red Bulls face in a battle for qualification into the MLS is Back knockout stage.
The Red Bulls opened their tournament with a promising 1-0 win over Atlanta United before falling 2-0 to now tournament favorites, the Columbus Crew. FC Cincinnati also picked up a 1-0 win over Atlanta, however their 4-0 loss to the Crew prior was a showcase of the team’s many problems.
It would be surprising if Cincinnati were able to find three points Wednesday night. After a disastrous 2019, they were not expected to make much noise in this tournament whatsoever. Chris Armas and the New York Red Bulls, meanwhile, should be eager to secure qualification and compete for the title after an underwhelming season last year.
Here are three things to watch for.
3. The Red Bulls need to find goals
The New York Red Bulls are entering their final MLS is Back group game with just one goal to their name. While Florian Valot strike was enough to beat Atlanta United, New York were shutout against the Crew. They failed to register a shot on target and looked entirely idealess in attacking areas.
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The duo of Daniel Royer and Tom Barlow has not clicked. Royer seems to have his talents limited playing through the middle, while Barlow has only gotten one shot on target in just over 100 minutes. Nevertheless, while such offensive struggles are concerning, if there is a team to fix them against, it is FC Cincinnati.
The Red Bulls scored three times in a 3-2 win back in March. Royer scored once and had plenty of other chances, Kyle Duncan popped up with a goal, and the team’s press set up a great goal from Kaku. Cincinnati, meanwhile, conceded four to the Columbus Crew and bunkered against a ten and then nine-man Atlanta United. While a draw would be enough to advance into the knockout round, the Red Bulls need a convincing win to build momentum ahead of a crucial Round of 16 match. And for that, they need to score some goals.