Head coach Gerhard Struber is pleased with the progress his New York Red Bulls team has been making and believes they're "on a different level" compared to last season.
But key off-season additions such as Lewis Morgan and Luquinhas have added real quality to the roster, while the existing players have become even more in tune with Struber's high-intensity style of play.
After beating Supporters' Shield holders New England Revolution 1-0 on the road last week, the Red Bulls head into Saturday's home tie with CF Montreal second in the East.
“I think the whole process in the last season is going more and more in the direction that we want," Struber said at his pre-match press conference. "I think everybody knows the situation last season with so many new players and showing them a completely different game idea from what they did in the past.”
“This was the main thing, to get every single player on the same page and go step-by-step with this process. Now we have a whole group together and we are much further in the process — everybody knows we are on a different level now.”
As impressive as they've been to start the season, the Red Bulls have been struggling at home. Just one of their ten points has come on their own patch, with New York losing 1-0 to Minnesota United before drawing 1-1 with the Columbus Crew.
Montreal have already taken four points on the road this season but Struber is hoping his side can overcome the Canadians and start turning Red Bull Arena into a fortress.
“The win in New England shows a sexy picture, but we still have so many to-dos,” said the Austrian. “I think now is the time for a big win at home. This is my expectation on Saturday for my boys, for my coaching staff, and for me that we have to win at home.
"We have to show our fans our power from the first second and how much work we’ve put into our style of play. I think then it is very difficult for Montréal. When we are on the same page and have the right energy and tactical setup in every phase of the game, then I have a very good feeling we win this game at home.”