The New York Red Bulls have been waiting for Brazilian striker Fabio to start producing goals the way he has produced assists in his first season with the club, and it could be a new partnership up top that helps Fabio and the Red Bulls attack start producing more consistently.
Fabio and Patryk Klimala started up top together and played key roles in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Nashville SC, moving the Red Bulls to fifth in the Eastern Conference and giving them a 4-0-1 start at home in 2021.
Fabio scored his first MLS goal on Friday, finishing off a clever assist from Klimala to help spark the hosts to an important three points.
The Fabio-Klimala partnership showed real promise, impressing against a Nashville SC side that boasts one of the better defenses in MLS.
“I can see today that Patryk and Fábio, they have a good connection together,” Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber said. “They make many, many good movements. They are — I think it’s very difficult to manage the game from Nashville. Very interesting, Patryk with his outstanding movements and with his pace, it’s not easy to handle.
“And yeah, Fábio it was very good for him to score and this gives him a lot of confidence for the next big games,” Struber said. “For the whole team, I think it was a good feeling that our strikers did a very good job in the end. Also they help us with the right goals at the right time.”
The Red Bulls have traditionally been a one-striker team for the better part of the past dozen years, but Klimala’s arrival coupled with Fabio’s impressive start with the Red Bulls give Struber two strikers worthy of starting.
Klimala was partnered with Daniel Royer in his first start, and while he showed well in that win against Orlando City, his partnership with Fabio on Friday looked even more promising.
“Yes, we train a lot of things like in the pressing, when we defend, when we are attacking,” said Klimala postmatch. “I feel comfortable with Fábio. It’s okay for me because I can play with anybody, but it worked today with Fábio, and he scored the goal. I gave him the assist, and I’m happy we won the game.”
The 24-year-old Fabio has started strong in his MLS career, registering four assists in seven matches prior to Friday’s home victory. Fabio’s ability to find his teammates in the final third and also hold-up possession for the Red Bulls has been on display in his prior appearances, key strengths which saw the club extend his loan spell from Oeste FC until the end of the season.
playing on repeat 🔂 🔂 🔂 pic.twitter.com/x4OLF7AeVt
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) June 19, 2021
Klimala, 22, has now assisted in his last two appearances for the Red Bulls, as Struber has extended his forward’s playing time to 62 minutes or more in wins over Orlando City and Nashville SC. The Polish international has gelled nicely with Fabio in the top of Struber’s formation, giving Red Bulls fans an exciting example of what could be to come.
The Red Bulls have now outshot their opponents 22-8 and outscored their opponents 8-1 in their last four home wins, showing the rest of MLS that road results will be hard to come by in Harrison this season.
Fabio and Klimala’s early partnership has also helped take the pressure off of playmakers Caden Clark and Frankie Amaya and will be another dangerous duo for opposing teams to try and stop this season.
Up next for the Red Bulls is a trip to Foxborough for a date with rivals New England Revolution before visits to Atlanta United and Orlando City all before July 4th.
If Fabio and Klimala can continue to work well together, the Red Bulls could be poised to start climbing up the East standings, doing so with a two-striker setup that could be a handful for opposing defenses.