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Crossing the Touchline: Crew vs. New York Red Bulls

To prepare for Sunday’s match, Massive Report spoke to Sylvana Budesheim from Switch the Pitch.

Sam Fahmi & Ralph Schudel - Massive Report

On Sunday, the Columbus Crew head to the East Coast. At 2 p.m. ET, the Black & Gold descend on Harrison, New Jersey to face the New York Red Bulls. Like Columbus, the Red Bulls had a 2021 season that didn’t meet the team’s expectations. Although New York made it into the final MLS Cup playoff spot in 2021, the Red Bulls only had one more point in the standings than the Crew. So far in 2022, both sides look strong with seven points for Columbus and six for New York after three matches.

To learn more about Sunday’s opponent, Massive Report spoke to someone that knows the team best. Sylvana Budesheim covers the Red Bulls for Switch the Pitch. We asked Budesheim some questions to help grow your knowledge of a competitive rival.

Massive Report: Across the league, a lot of the preseason transaction talk surrounded Toronto FC bringing in Lorenzo Insigne, but New York made moves as well, bringing in Scottish striker Lewis Morgan and Brazilian Luquinhas. We know Morgan’s done well, scoring three against Toronto, but Luquinhas just recently joined New York in the last week or so. What should people expect from the new signing?

Sylvana Budesheim: Luquinhas only got a couple of minutes on Sunday, but there was a distinct excitement about him while on the field. From where I was sitting, the confidence he had both on and off the ball showed that he slotted right in to the team. Fans know that he scored twelve goals for Legia Warszawa and has UEFA Champions League experience. Once he gets his bearings in this league, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. I expect him to stretch defenses along with forward Patryk Klimala

MR: In 2021, New York was tied for giving up the least amount of goals in the league with 33. Then they added center back Aaron Long who missed all of 2021 with an injury. Defensively, what makes New York so good?

SB: Something I’ve always commented on with regard to the Red Bull defense is their fearlessness and the ease in their movement. They are always ready to push forward, supporting the midfield and threatening the goal on set pieces. Sean Nealis really stepped up in Long’s absence, but now has the chance to shine alongside the USMNT defender. Add to that the explosiveness and attack that we see in John Tolkin, and it’s more a secondary offense rather than a defense!

MR: If it wasn’t for Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair’s Sunday night performance, New York would likely be undefeated, and maybe even at the top of the league. Where do you see the Red Bulls landing at the season’s end? Do you think the beginning of the season is a fluke or are they reaching potential?

SB: I’m a perpetual optimist, so I will pretty much guarantee another playoff spot for the Red Bulls year after year—that’s the standard at this point, especially considering that there have been seasons where the first win took a long time to find and they still found the post-season. But seeing Morgan, and knowing Luquinhas and Ashley Fletcher are coming down the pike with the same potential, I can’t help but get revved up! This is not about peaking at the “right time”; this is about pedal-to-the-metal football. They’re ready to be shameless, and I am here for that.