Lewis Morgan returns: "Special" goal ignites RBNY's Schwarz era 


Lewis Morgan was supposed to play limited minutes during Saturday night’s trip to Houston Dynamo FC, still working his way back after hip surgery cut short his injury-plagued 2023 season.

But plans changed in the 34th minute when an injury to Peter Stroud forced the New York Red Bulls into an early substitution at Shell Energy Stadium.

After that swap, Morgan helped New York level proceedings just before halftime through Elias Manoel (43’) before he grabbed headlines with a game-winning thunderbolt (59’) – sealing their first win of the Sandro Schwarz era.

“He did a great job,” RBNY’s new manager said of the Scottish winger. “He was directly in the game, in the defensive behavior and also a very important goal in the second half after the transition.”

At halftime, Schwarz adjusted formations from a 4-2-2-2 to a 4-2-3-1 with Emil Forsberg moving into the No. 10 position, Dante Vanzeir out to the right wing and Morgan occupying the left wing. The German manager wanted to get more pressure on Houston’s defensive midfielders and prevent diagonal passes from releasing pressure for the Dynamo in the buildup.

It turned out to be a masterstroke.

When Artur mishit an attempted diagonal while playing out of the Red Bulls’ adjusted press, Morgan picked off the pass, turned directly towards goal and smashed a rocket of a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.

“I feel amazing,” Morgan shared his emotions postgame. “… It was special to come back. I've been out for over a year and obviously played some minutes last year, but I kept re-injuring myself.

“It's always good to start the season off well. I think we've done that. It is my little sister's birthday today, so I scored a goal on her birthday and that makes it extra special.”

The 27-year-old was the Red Bulls’ top scorer in 2022 with 14 goals, but played just under 300 minutes last season. Despite admittedly still not being fully fit, RBNY fans will enjoy seeing glimpses of the Morgan they remember when he arrived in a blockbuster trade from Inter Miami CF.

Of course, the journey back to this point wasn’t easy.

“I had some really serious injuries that are pretty much unheard of, so it was a learning curve for me,” Morgan reflected. “That is probably the first time in my career that I really missed time like that, so it was really tough mentally to come through.”

With the help of the RBNY medical staff, Morgan pushed through those physical and mental hurdles to find his way back to the pitch. Now, an “extra special” first goal since returning wins Red Bulls their first game of the season.

“I feel like I’ve got some time to make up for,” Morgan proclaimed, “so hopefully tonight can be the start of it.”