A little over a month ago, the New York Red Bulls held a share of the lead in the Eastern Conference, although recent results have created more of an uphill battle for the rest of the season.
Winless in their past two home games, the Red Bulls hope to start reversing their recent stagnant trend Saturday night when they host Orlando City at Harrison, N.J.
New York (10-7-7, 37 points) begins this weekend eight points behind the East-leading Philadelphia Union and three points behind third-place CF Montreal. The Red Bulls are in the middle of the pack among East playoff-eligible clubs because they are 0-2-0 at home since beating Atlanta on June 30 and have gone 1-2-2 in their past five games overall.
In their last home appearance Aug. 2, the Red Bulls blew a two-goal lead and allowed four straight goals in a 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rapids. Last Saturday, New York produced even less offense by getting held to one shot on goal in a 0-0 draw against D.C. United.
"It's very, very important that we find a focus in our game, in our setup and we are ready for it," Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber said.
Orlando City (8-10-6, 30 points) shares the same point total as the Chicago Fire, New England Revolution and Inter Miami. Since getting the game-winner in the second minute of extra time in a 1-0 victory over Miami on July 9, Orlando City is 0-3-2 in a stretch that has seen the team score just three times.
Mixed in during that span was a 5-1 win over the Red Bulls in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match on July 27 but since that impressive showing, Orlando has endured a 2-1 loss to D.C. United on July 31 and a 3-0 loss to New England last Saturday.
"Obviously they are a tough opponent, but we have the motivation to go and fight for three points," Orlando coach Oscar Pareja said. "We have a lot of preparation. The team already knows that last time we faced them we got a good result but it would be great to confirm again that it was not just one day but it was something we deserved."
--Field Level Media