New York Red Bulls chase historic road win at Orlando City SC

The New York Red Bulls may remain in search of their first home win of the 2022 campaign, but their road form could reach a historic level Sunday vs. Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium (3:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes).

With a win, RBNY would become the third-ever MLS team to win their first four away matches of a season. The last time that feat was accomplished was in 1998 by the LA Galaxy, when the league had just 12 teams.

Is there a secret to that success? Midfielder Dru Yearwood offered his perspective.

“​​I don’t know why, but it just seems to me we play with much more freedom away, and that’s sort of something that we need to bring at home as well, is that freedom,” Yearwood said. “I think we just stick to our principles, and we stay together, and we have that real togetherness away from home, and I guess every game away from home seems to be the grind and we seem to want it more than any other team. And that’s sort of why we’ve got the three points everywhere we’ve gone.”

The road results – at San Jose, Toronto and New England – include a combined plus-six goal differential. It’s seen them flip the home/away formula MLS teams usually employ while chasing an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot, with New York reaching the postseason 12 straight years.

These facts aren’t super front of mind for head coach Gerhard Struber, though, as his team heads to Florida.

“I do not think so much about the records,” Struber said of their road form. “I think more in our style of play, what we can do from the match plan, from the mindset, and from the psychological side, how we prepare the boys in a successful direction and then all the other things are the consequences and I do not think so much in consequences.”

Regardless, the Red Bulls could leapfrog Orlando in the early Eastern Conference standings with a victory Sunday, perhaps to second place depending on other Week 8 results. The Lions, chasing a third straight win as striker Ercan Kara rounds into form (goals in two straight games) and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese shows his quality (five shutouts), must confront RBNY’s high-pressing style.

“We know how they play, but the most important thing for us is to show how we play,” Orlando midfielder Mauricio Pereyra said. We know we have quality and a lot of legs in the middle, experience inside, and we know how to [play against] this kind of pressing, so we just need to keep going.”

There’s some Open Cup momentum in the air, too, with both squads advancing to the Round of 32 after defeating USL Championship sides 2-1 on Wednesday. Orlando dispatched the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while RBNY downed Hartford Athletic.

And history could be on New York’s side after last year’s success against Orlando, recording 2-1 victories both home and away. It was the first set of consecutive wins by either team against the other in the 15-match history of their MLS series.

Is more coming?

“It’s a new year and it’s going to be the same mindset going into them,” Yearwood said. “I think just we need to go there and get three points and have all the confidence in the world that we can get three points.”