Red Bulls look to stay hot against slow-starting Orlando City

League: MLS

Posted on: 30 Mar, 2024 at 03:15 AM

Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A matchup between two teams at opposite sides of the Eastern Conference standings square off when the New York Red Bulls travel to take on Orlando City on Saturday night.

New York (3-1-1, 10 points) is fresh off an emphatic 4-0 win over Inter Miami last Saturday that saw Scottish winger Lewis Morgan net a hat trick against his former club. The Red Bulls are currently third in the Eastern Conference table behind FC Cincinnati and Miami.

Morgan is tied for the league lead in goals (five) with Los Angeles Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic. And he's doing it all while working back from offseason hip surgery.

"My performance levels are getting there," Morgan told AMNY. "Physically I have a little bit to go. I wouldn't say I feel exactly how I did before the injury, but I think every single week, I'm starting to get better... I've got really high expectations of myself, but I probably didn't expect to start off this well in terms of the numbers."

Orlando City (1-3-1, 4 points) started the season winless in their first four matches, but the Lions enter their meeting with New York on the heels of a 2-0 victory over Austin FC last Saturday. They are also hoping to see a key player return to the lineup in midfielder Cesar Araujo, who is finally fit after suffering an ankle injury against Minnesota United on March 9.

Araujo started 31 matches for Orlando in 2023, tallying a goal and four assists. He played 220 minutes across three matches this season before going down with the injury.

Lions coach Oscar Pareja told reporters this week that the return of Araujo and several other players from international duty will give his squad some much-needed depth.

"It's been good, just seeing the group together again and having the volume of players is much better ..." Pareja said, according to WESH Orlando. "It's a long season where we're trying to find our best version. We're trying to win some games at the same time because results are going to make us mentally stronger."

--Field Level Media