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Emil Forsberg gets 1st multi-goal game in MLS as Red Bulls burst through best defense in league

Emil Forsberg Red Bulls
(Photo courtesy of the New York Red Bulls)

Preseason prognostications surrounding the New York Red Bulls seemed a little too obvious — they will go as star midfielder Emil Forsberg goes. 

That has been the exact case three months into the season. Forsberg has played in 13 of New York’s 15 MLS matches this season and has recorded either a goal or an assist in eight of them. Out of a possible 24 points across those eight matches, the Red Bulls picked up 17 (5-1-2).

When he is held off the scoresheet, New York has picked up just four of a possible 12 points.

He had his biggest night yet since making the jump from the Bundesliga on Wednesday against the top defense in MLS in Charlotte. The 32-year-old midfielder scored twice in two minutes during the second half to spark the Red Bulls’ 3-1 victory, drawing the club level with its crosstown rivals, NYCFC, with 26 points for third place in the Eastern Conference. 

Forsberg opened the scoring in the 74th minute, curling his first free-kick goal with the Red Bulls just inside the left post from 23 yards out. 

“I’ve been waiting for that free-kick goal,” Forsberg said. “I had some bad luck in some games so finally got in. An amazing feeling, of course.”

Just two minutes later, Lewis Morgan jumped on a mistake from the Charlotte backline, entered the right side of the box, and pulled back a pass to an open Forsberg, who coolly slotted the chance into an open goal.

“I just needed to put it in,” Forsberg said. “Amazing work from Lewis [Morgan] seeing me. It’s a good feeling to score but that goal is a great path from Lewis so I could just put in.”

The 120-second swing provided a complete turnaround from a timid first half that saw New York often playing on its heels — something that has plagued them in recent weeks to slow down a blistering start to the season. To do so against the league’s best defense will only build confidence moving forward. 

“The way we played second half is the way we want to play, dominant, being forward, creating chances,” Forsberg said. “I think the most important part of our game is when you win the second ball, to play forward and attack directly. We did that in the second half. In the first half, we were playing too backward… In the second half, we won the ball, we played it forward… we put tempo on the ball. When we do that, it’s hard to get us. That’s the most important thing, to play with confidence.”

For more on Emil Forsberg and the New York Red Bulls, visit AMNY.com