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Red Bulls look to spread wings vs. lowly Cincinnati

(Image:Twitter/@NewYorkRedBulls)

Things are going better for the New York Red Bulls, but the team isn’t getting the points — or the intensity from the players — at the rate it believes it should.

Heading into their first visit with expansion FC Cincinnati on Saturday night, the Red Bulls own a three-game unbeaten streak and are making a slow climb up the standings in the Eastern Conference.

New York (5-5-3, 18 points) is 2-0-1 in its last three games and, starting with a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati on April 27, the Red Bulls are 4-1-1 in their last six. On Wednesday, the Red Bulls settled for one point in a 2-2 tie to the Vancouver Whitecaps, three days after a 1-0 win over Atlanta.

New York’s recent surge has ascended the Red Bulls into a tie for fifth in the conference with NYCFC and six points behind conference leaders Philadelphia and D.C. United. The Red Bulls would be slightly closer if they did not blow a one-goal lead Wednesday.

Against Vancouver, the Red Bulls took a 2-1 lead on an own goal by Whitecaps defender Andy Rose in the 55th minute but gave up the tying goal on a penalty kick six minutes later after a video review showed Red Bulls defender Sean Nealis committed a handball in the penalty area.

“At least we got a point, right,” Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles asked reporters afterward. “It’s really disappointing if we’re being honest, against a team that traveled a very long way to play midweek. We had an opportunity to win all three points and we wasted it.”

The Red Bulls were without Bradley Wright-Phillips (groin) and defender Aaron Long (hamstring). Wright-Phillips has missed the last six games, Long has sat for the last three games and both players could be out again.

FC Cincinnati (3-8-2, 11 points) owns the fewest points in the East. Since starting the season 2-1-1 through its first four games, the club is 1-7-1 in its last nine while getting outscored 18-4.

FC Cincinnati halted a seven-game winless skid with a 2-1 win two weeks ago against Montreal after firing coach Alan Koch but was dominated Sunday in a 5-1 loss at FC Orlando. FC Cincinnati allowed five unanswered goals after Darren Mattocks scored in the 24th minute and were outshot 17-5.

“We are in a tough place,” FC Cincinnati interim coach Yoann Damet said. “We know it. The win against Montreal was a good thing, but we knew we were still in a tough place. I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction on the field today and in the coming days. We sometimes have to go through some obstacles and we have to keep working and moving forward.”

–Field Level Media

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