The New York Red Bulls will be in search of consistency and solid production for the first time in a month when they host FC Cincinnati in an Eastern Conference battle on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The two sides have squared off twice this season and split their matches, with the Red Bulls winning the 2020 opener at home before the COVID-19 stoppage and Cincinnati evening the ledger during a group stage win in the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando in July.
The past two weeks have been a cold slap in the face for the Red Bulls, with two defeats on their home pitch and a coaching change providing plenty of consternation.
New York (4-5-2, 14 points) righted the ship, at least temporarily, and snapped a four-match winless stretch with a 2-0 road win over D.C. United on Wednesday. Aaron Long and Danny Royer had the Red Bulls' goals in the victory, which was the first for interim head coach Bradley Carnell.
"Personally, (the win) means nothing for me," Carnell said after the game. "What it means for the team, I think that's important. It's really a relief for the players, it's a relief for the club and that's the most important takeaway for the players.
"I told the players individually today in the meeting, it's all about 'you.' If we have a bunch of 'yous' collectively, we will be strong. You could see that from the guys who stepped on the field that everyone was dialed in."
FC Cincinnati (2-6-3, 9 points) is looking to avoid consecutive defeats at Red Bull Arena after suffering a 2-1 loss to New York City FC in that stadium last Saturday that pushed the side's winless streak to six matches.
There were positives from Wednesday's setback, but not enough of them to keep FCC from its second straight loss. Brandon Vazquez's goal in the 74th minute snapped a 550-minute goalless streak and Cincinnati pressured NYCFC throughout the match's end game.
FC Cincinnati's most recent win was the 2-0 MLS is Back victory over the Red Bulls in July. Since then the side has three losses and three draws.
"There's no happiness -- there's disappointment," FC Cincinnati head coach Jaap Stam said. "We see a lot of spirit in what we want to see. Basically, in determination, being aggressive, going forward on the ball as well, scoring that goal, being a threat going forward in the box. So yeah, there's disappointment to be honest. For me, at least."
--Field Level Media