May 28, 2022; Harrison, New Jersey, USA; New York Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber coaches during the second half against D.C. United at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Gerhard Struber: “We have no time to find experiments.” (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Rest assured, Red Bulls fans, it looks like Gerhard Struber is going to bring in his A team for Wednesday’s Hudson River Derby.

There is plenty at stake for the Red Bulls against New York City FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at Red Bull Arena at 8 p.m. – a place in the semifinals.

Even with a loss against the host Los Angeles FC on Sunday, the Red Bulls will have plenty of time to make up for it.

For both HRD squads, there is no tomorrow in the Open Cup.

“We have no time to find experiments,” the Red Bulls head coach said during a Tuesday afternoon conference. “So, something in this direction, we bring tomorrow, I think the players on the field what have the highest chance to be this game. I am always ready for rotation and I [have] a big trust in all my roster players but I think from the set-up tomorrow … we have to create the [best] 11.”

The first of three confrontations between the two rival sides will pit the reigning MLS Cup champions and Eastern Conference leaders (8-3-3, 27 points) against the second-place Red Bulls (7-4-5, 27). Yes, the Cityzens have two games in hand but how many times have these two teams been this close in the standings for a derby encounter?

Not many.

Struber realized his team will face some dangerous attacking players in the with the likes of Taty Castellanos, Santiago Rodriguez, Talles Magno and Maxi Moralez, among others.

“I can tell you every single player in this game has a very interesting quality from New York FC,” he said. “I see they play football, and they have space and time. Then they can create many, many problems. But we know what we have to do and we believe in our power, in our strength.”

The Red Bulls are tied for third place with the least goals conceded (17) in the conference.

“It’s not easy against us when we are on the same page and synchronized moments,” he said. “I am looking forward to this game. This is a big test. … My whole team has the chance to play against the best team in the league or one of the best teams in the league. It’s for us always a chance to grow and show what can we do.”

While Struber is confident in his squad, he certainly respects City.

“New York City FC is at the moment on a very good roll,” said Struber, who scouted his rival’s 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. “They have many key players. They have a high quality in every line in the game.”

The Red Bulls won last year’s three-game derby series, 2-0-1.

“The biggest key was our togetherness against them,” Struber said. “We were on the same page. I can remember the synchronized moments what we created. from the first line until the last line. We were so clear in the plan. We were brave in many moments to play our game in transitions. They had a lot of problems with us to manage our intensity, our power.”

So, as long as the Red Bulls step to their game plan it won’t “be easy for them,” the head coach added.

So Struber has one goal in mind on Wednesday night.

“We want in the end that the city in the soccer world is red,” he said.


FOR YOUR SUMMER READING: A book about the highs and lows of the Rochester Lancers

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at