Toronto FC-Red Bulls Preview
Chris Armas has not had to wait long to make his return to New York Red Bulls as Toronto FC head to Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
Armas left the Red Bulls in September but returned to MLS as Toronto's new head coach for the 2021 season.
And in just their third league game of the year, they will visit his former home.
The opportunity to see family, still situated in New York, and earn a result is of more interest to Armas than reuniting with old friends, though.
TFC exited the CONCACAF Champions League in midweek and can now focus solely on domestic action, having taken only a point from their first two matches.
"For me, heading back home, first and foremost I get to see my wife and children," Armas said.
"I haven't seen my children for three months or so. My wife came to Canada for a short stretch there. That's probably top of the list.
"The second thing is, yeah, it's the club I was at for six years, but honestly it's really about going there and getting our season going.
"It's been a great start to the year in terms of being in real games where every play matters, the whole bit.
"But now we can turn our focus to the MLS season. That's probably the most important thing."
Conversely, Gerhard Struber, the man who replaced Armas, is thinking long-term.
The Red Bulls coach told The Sun: "We need patience, we need the right time, but we have big ambitions to win trophies in the end. Right now, we are realistic and work very hard for our vision.
"The goal is to play very attractive and win football games. We will be very successful in the next few years."
New York Red Bulls - Cristian Casseres
Teenager Caden Clark is understandably getting the attention, but Casseres has already matched his tally of two league goals from the entirety of last season. Now 21, the Red Bulls will hope the Venezuela international is coming of age.
Toronto FC - Yeferson Soteldo
Toronto are hoping to be able to hand new signing Soteldo, another Venezuelan, his debut this weekend - he is "available", Armas says - and the forward's early comments should provide cause for optimism. He is hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Josef Martinez. "My role right now is to keep working hard, try to do the same things and make history with Toronto FC," he said.
- The Red Bulls have won four of their past six meetings with Toronto FC (D1 L1) after being eliminated in the 2017 Eastern Conference semi-finals. Toronto won 2-1 at Red Bull Arena in that tie, one of only three road wins over the Red Bulls in the club's MLS history (D2, L13).
- The Red Bulls have scored in 14 consecutive regular season matches, the longest active streak in MLS. This is New York's longest run of regular season games with a goal since a stretch of 18 straight from July 2016 to March 2017.
- Toronto have lost five of their past seven games (W1 D1), including their playoff defeat to Nashville, after losing just four of their previous 34 matches (W19 D11, including playoffs) dating back to August 2019.
- Seventeen-year-old Clark has scored four goals for the Red Bulls. He is the third player in the past 10 years to score four MLS goals before his 18th birthday, along with Gianluca Busio and Alphonso Davies.
- Toronto's six goals conceded ties their most after two games in the club's MLS history (four other times). The most the Reds have conceded three games into a season is nine, in their inaugural 2007 campaign.
Updated May 7, 2021