New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls taking it 'game-by-game' despite going top of the Eastern Conference

Chris Smith
The Red Bulls picked up their sixth away win of the campaign.
The Red Bulls picked up their sixth away win of the campaign. / William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

With their 1-0 win away at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night, the New York Red Bulls climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference.

It's worth mentioning that Gerhard Struber's side have played more games than any of the chasing pack, who all sit on 17 and 18 matches, respectively. But it remains a sure sign of how far RBNY have come.

After 19 games last season, the Red Bulls were ninth in the East, with just 22 points. This time around, they're eight places, 10 points, three wins, six goals scored, and four goals conceded better off.

Even so, RBNY are keeping their feet on the ground, well aware that the regular season still has a long way to run.

“We can’t let it get to our heads, every point matters,” left-back John Tolkin said after a win delivered by Aaron Long's set-piece header. “Obviously, we’re in a good place right now. If you compare it to last season, I think we’re just doing so much better. We have a really tight group right now and we’re taking it game-by-game.”

Winning away at Sporting Kansas City is also a good indicator of where the Red Bulls are at. Sure, SKC are propping up the Western Conference, but RBNY's last win at Children's Mercy Park came way back in October 2014. This result takes them to six wins and 19 points on the road in 2022 - no team has more.

“They’re a really good team at home,” said goalscorer Long. “I don’t know if I’ve ever won here with this group since my time. I think our last win we were saying in the locker room was 2014 when Bradley [Wright-Phillips] tied the goal record with 27 goals and the Golden Boot, so it’s been a long time.”

Despite that excellent record away from New Jersey, the Red Bulls had actually fallen to consecutive 2-0 defeats on the road to Inter Miami, Charlotte FC, and LAFC in recent trips.

But despite seeing just 37% of the ball and having Sean Nealis sent off in the 73rd minute on Sunday, New York rode the storm and got back on track. Safe to say Struber was delighted after the match.

“In this direction, we can see the boys are growing,” the Austrian said. “The boys had power to bring the points home in such a tough environment. I’m proud of also a situation like that; it’s not always technical or tactical highlights. Today was a fighting highlight and also in this direction today we showed an interesting phase.”

Up next for RBNY is a trip to FC Cincinnati on Saturday.