Red Bulls look for fresh start in Hudson River derby
Newly appointed New York Red Bulls head coach Troy Lesesne faces a baptism of fire with a derby clash against New York City FC awaiting in his first MLS game in charge.
Lesesne was handed the job, until the end of the season, after the Red Bulls, bottom of the Eastern Conference with just one win from their opening 11 games, fired Austrian head coach Gerhard Struber on Monday.
The 39-year-old Lesesne was part of Struber's staff for more than a year having previously coached in the second tier USL with New Mexico United, but now it is up to him to find a way to get a struggling side scoring goals.
The New Jersey based team have found the target just seven times this season but Lesesne doesn't want to radically alter their approach.
"We want to make sure to never lose the identity of Red Bull, but continue to take steps forward to be more creative, to be able to hopefully create more chances and more goals. And that's going to take some time. It's the hardest part of the game," he said.
New York City cross the Hudson River looking for a repeat of last year's sweep in the derby which included a 1-0 win on the road.
But after a four match unbeaten run, the club, owned by Manchester City's City Football Group, have stumbled in recent weeks with defeats to Charlotte and Toronto in MLS and a US Open Cup exit on Wednesday at the hands of FC Cincinnati.
French defender Maxime Chamot believes the derby could be a turning point in the season.
"They’re always special games, and if we can get the three points, I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for us to bounce back, and to start a few games where we can get points back," he said.
"We know the tension about this game, we know what the fans expect from us, so I can tell you something: we're going to be ready to compete against them, and we're going to be ready to get the three points," he said.
- Texas derby -
There is another derby, in Texas, where struggling Austin FC take on FC Dallas.
Austin are without a win in seven MLS games and have just one victory in their last six meetings with Dallas -- that win coming in last season's Western Conference semi-finals.
Champions Los Angeles FC head to Utah to face Real Salt Lake after suffering their first defeat of the season with a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
LAFC won at Salt Lake 4-1 last season nad have won each of their last six meetings with the Sandy-based club.
Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution venture south on Saturday to take on an Inter Miami side who have claimed back-to-back victories after a six match losing streak.
Bruce Arena's New England have picked up 10 points from their first five away games this season -- the joint best return along with St Louis City.
But they will have to keep a close eye on Miami striker Josef Martinez, who after being dropped by manager Phil Neville, burst into life with two goals in the 2-1 win over Atlanta last Saturday, making him the fastest player to score 100 career goals in MLS.