|Kaku celebrating his goal. @NewYorkRedBulls.|
The Red Bulls got on the board in the 16th minute when Danny Royer swung his pass towards the top of the 18-yard box for Florian Valot, who found Duncan, and he took one touch and finished to the near post in the 16th minute.
It didn't take long for the Red Bulls to double their lead. The play began when Duncan started the counter attack as he headed a clearance back into Cincinnati territory. Valot picked up the loose ball and fed Kaku at the top of the box. Kaku then redirected Valot's pass to the far post to make it 2-0 in the 27th minute.
As the second half whistle blow, Cincinnati quickly cut the deficit to 2-1, as Allan Cruz finished Cincy's counterattack to the near post in the 46th minute.
The Red Bulls got that goal back int he 70th minute when Royer danced through two defenders into the 18-yard box and beat Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey to the left.
Cincinnati responded soon after thwne their new DP (designated player) Jurgen Locadia cashed in his first of the season in the 83rd minute to make it 3-2, which would turn out to be the final.
Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas said of the win, "We approached today with a must-win mentality, opening day. We've talked about the fresh start, the new year, and I think it's 8 of 12 on the road, we talked how we can maximize our points at home.
"So regardless of the opponent and who was coming in, this was a must-win, and even for our supporters, who we thought provided a lot of energy for the opening whistle, and we felt that that helped. I think the guys for a lot of stretches played well tonight, and rewarded them with a victory and three goals.
"So big win for the team, and specifically, I would say that this was a nice continuation from preseason; that we see a team that sticks together, especially when things get a little bit tight, and we believe in that and the group believes in that.
"On the say, we see Kyle Duncan get credit for a goal and two assists, our outside back, this is a big performance for him, and we thought he defended well, as well. I think, you know, without going around the horn, maybe one more guy, you see Flo Valot coming off of his injuries, and what a special day for him to also contribute with a couple assists. While I'm at, it Sean Davis's first victory as the team captain. Overall, really positive day."
Armas raised his career record to 27-17-9 overall and 18-6-3 at home. Armas is three wins away from cracking the Red Bulls' top-five all-time MLS wins list.
Duncan's tallied one goal and two assists in 90 minutes means he already has matched his output from last season, when he had one goal and two assists in 1,080 minutes last season.
Valot tallied two assists in his first game back since March 16, 2019 to raise his career total to eight. It was Valot's second two-assist performance and first since March 31, 2018 at Orlando City SC.
Royer recorded his 36th MLS regular-season goal and 47th across all competition. He also included his 14th MLS regular-season assist and 20th across all competition.The Austrian winger also scored against his 20th different MLS team. FC Dallas, Houston, Orlando City and expansion-sides Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF are the five remaining teams.
Newly acquired Danish goalkeeper David Jensen and freshly signed 2020 MLS SuperDraft First Round draft pick Patrick Seagrist both made their MLS debuts.
The Red Bulls are now improved to 8-2-1 all-time when opening the season at home. The Red Bulls have outscored their opponents, 20-8, in 11 matches at home to begin a season. The Red Bulls have stretched their season-opening unbeaten streak to four matches (3-0-1).
Since the Red Bulls implemented their high-press system in 2015, they improved to 70-12-16 when scoring the first goal of the match.
The Red Bulls improved to 19-7-3 in the last 29 matches at Red Bull Arena across all competitions. The Red Bulls have outscored their opponents, 45-24, during the stretch.
The Red Bulls will travel West to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, March 7. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET from Rio Tinto Stadium.