Omir Fernandez (left): “We want this to be the night for three points.” (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Who would have ever predicted this?
Eleven games into the MLS season and the Red Bulls are still searching for their first home win.
Through five matches at Red Bull Arena, they are 0-2-3. On the opposite end, their slow home start has been saved by a record-setting road record in which the team is 5-0-1.
So, when the Red Bulls take the field to host the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., they will have one thing in mind.
It should be noted that the Red Bulls are on a seven-match unbeaten streak across all competitions, as they have outscored their foes in those contests, 12-4. They also have allowed only nine goals, tied for second lowest in the league.
“We want this to be the night for three points,” midfielder Omir Fernandez said. “Something that we’ve been talking about is starting to win at home. I think that’s been the story for us since the beginning of the season that good teams win at home and make their home a fortress. We have to start on Wednesday night, everybody’s ready and everybody knows what they have to do to win this game.”
Needless to say, RBA has been a fortress for the team since the stadium opened in 2010.
If the Red Bulls have any serious thought of making the playoffs, they must win an overwhelming majority of their games at home. Teams just can’t keep up that type of pace on the road.
“I think everyone knows that it’s right now the time to realize at home a big performance,” head coach Gerhard Struber said. “We will bring players on the field that are fresh from the mindset, fresh from the physical side, and ready for three points.”
Struber noted that Aaron Long (calf injury) and Lewis Morgan (health and safety protocols), who missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Philadelphia Union, have made “the right progress in training.”
“This gives us a very good feeling for the Wednesday game,” he added. “We know what’s going on against Chicago. We played there in Soldier Field two weeks ago.”
In that game, the Red Bulls overcame a one-goal deficit to register a 2-1 win at Soldier Field win on April 30.
“We know many things from Chicago,” Struber said. “This is an advantage. Maybe they know also something about us, but it’s on us. This game is absolutely on us and I think we have the will in the end and I think we have to the responsibility to leave on Wednesday everything on the field. Then it’s I think very very difficult for Chicago in our stadium. This is what I expect from my boys on Wednesday.”