Lions Readying for Intense Red Bulls Press

You know what you’re gonna get with the New York Red Bulls – they’re gonna press, press, press.

“The Red Bulls play in a certain way that has been very constant for years,” said Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja at his pre-match press conference, “since [former coaches] Jesse [Marsch] and [Chris] Armas, and [current Head Coach] Gerhard [Struber] has continued with the same structure. We’ll try to neutralize it.”

Orlando City was able to do just that against a similar opponent two weeks ago, winning 1-0 at D.C. United. New D.C. boss Hernán Losada has installed a high-pressing scheme very similar to New York’s, but the Lions were able to get an early goal and fend off United’s swarming front line for the rest of the night.

“I don’t remember that D.C. United took a shot in the second half to our goal,” Pareja recalled. “We defended low in that block, it doesn’t mean that we’re not playing well. We just put the block lower and we knew that they would give us spaces.”

As Pareja noted, Gerhard Struber and the 2021 Red Bulls have remained faithful to that style. New York currently ranks last in MLS in passing accuracy, a signal that they’re not always worried about playmaking as much as they are about winning the ball high up the field. They’ve also remained extremely aggressive without the ball, leading the League in tackles by a wide margin.

Pareja sees chances to attack against Red Bulls’ eagerness: “There may be similar moments in the game, especially when you go away and teams are throwing a lot of numbers at you, they may get exposed at the back. We’ll try to do our job well and see if we can expose the Red Bulls’ weaknesses and get the points.”

Orlando City’s match with the Red Bulls, presented by OUC, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Pre-game coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. on FOX35 PLUS and will be streamed in the Central Florida area for free on LionNation TV through the LionNation app.