MLS: Charlotte brings the ‘D’ into duel at Red Bulls

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Charlotte FC looks to continue their shutout streak in the New York Red Bulls’ home fortress when the two clubs meet Wednesday in Harrison, N.J.

The Red Bulls (6-3-5, 23 points) are 3-0-2 at home this season, while Charlotte FC (6-5-4, 22 points) are 1-4-1 on the road.

New York is 3-0-2 in its past five matches against Charlotte in all competitions, dating back to the 2022 season. The unbeaten mark includes a 5-2 Red Bulls victory in the wild-card round of last season’s MLS Cup playoffs.

Since that five-goal breakdown ended their 2023 season, Charlotte FC has rebounded to become a defensive powerhouse. Charlotte’s 13 goals allowed this season are tied for the fewest in MLS, and the team hasn’t conceded a goal throughout its five-match (3-0-2) unbeaten streak.

Perhaps the only attack that has truly challenged Charlotte has been its own, with only 14 goals scored. Last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with the Philadelphia Union saw Charlotte hold 60.7 percent of the possession.

“Five clean sheets, they’ve got to be proud of that but disappointed because we deserved to go and win the game,” Charlotte coach Dean Smith.

“I thought we created really good moments today without getting a finish.”

While Charlotte FC are playing for the second time in five days, the Red Bulls haven’t played since a 2-1 away loss on May 18 to arch-rivals New York City FC.

During the short break, the Red Bulls addressed some business by signing defender John Tolkin to a contract extension that runs through at least the 2027 season.

“(Tolkin) has proven to be one of the top young players at his position globally and despite missing preseason, he has been fighting back and still has a lot of potential to grow with us. We are very proud to have John with us,” Red Bulls head of sport Jochen Schneider said.

New York defender Sean Nealis won’t play Wednesday due to a red-card suspension.

Lewis Morgan leads the Red Bulls with nine goals, and midfielder Cameron Harper is on a three-match goal-scoring streak.

-Field Level Media

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