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Oppo Research: 5 Things about the Red Bulls

Our very own Michael Battista tells us about the strengths and weaknesses of our frenemies from Harrison, New Jersey.

A face only a Red Bulls fan could love | Courtesy New York Red Bulls

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with journalist and lifelong Red Bulls fan Michael Battista (who also covers the Tri-State Soccer Scene for us) to learn more about the best MLS team ever to call New Jersey home, New York City FC’s opponent in the Hudson River Derbytomorrow at Yankee Soccer Stadium: The oppo is coming from inside the building!

Here is your NYCFC vs Red Bulls preview.

1. Fan morale is low (selling Messi shirts at Red Bull Arena didn’t help)

Hudson River Blue: The New York Red Bulls currently sit in 13th in the Eastern Conference, four points off a playoff spot. The Red Bulls lost their last three MLS games and struggled offensively. What’s the feeling on that side of the Hudson River these days?

Michael Battista: At this point, many fans have given up on making the playoffs for a 14th straight season. The offensive issues have hit a new low. The best way to sum it up is that Dante Vanzeir is tied for the most goals across all competitions with just five. He missed a month due to a case of accidental racism, and only has a pair of regular-season goals, but he’s tied him with Omir Fernandez for the top. 

Also, Tom Barlow keeps starting games. Lewis Morgan was officially shut down last week for the rest of the season after having hip surgery. The defense isn’t much better. John Tolkin (or, as he prefers it, JMi) is still great, but Andrés Reyes and Sean Nealis have come down after starting the season incredibly hot.

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