The New York Red Bulls look to build upon their 5-0 win on Wednesday night as they host DC United tonight at Red Bull Arena. In their first meeting of the season, the Red Bulls traveled down to RFK Stadium, where they completely dominated and shut out DC 4-0, a game which included a particularly memorable goal from Juan Agudelo.
Dwayne de Rosario made his DC debut last week against the Philadelphia Union with an assist; after starting off in his favored creative midfield role until he was pushed up when an ineffective Charlie Davies was subbed off. On the defensive side, the other new United addition, Brandon McDonald, played a solid match and looked comfortable alongside young defender Perry Kitchen.
Make no mistake - the DC lineup tomorrow night will not be the same as the one that conceded four goals at home to New York earlier this season.
While the Red Bulls will use a similar starting XI and bench to the April 21st match, DC won't have Fred, Branko Boskovic, Santino Quaranta, Dejan Jakovic, or current Red Bull Dax McCarthy. Besides their recent additions, De Rosario and McDonald, DC doesn't have much else at its disposal to throw at New York to try to pull off an upset victory.
The Red Bulls will be without Teemu Tainio, who is serving a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation. Manager Hans Backe, always the optimist, did point out that Tainio could use the week off to rest a minor nagging groin injury. Expect to see Mehdi Ballouchy to step into the central midfield next to Dax McCarthy. Ballouchy played what was possibly his most consistent match for New York the last time he filled in for Tainio against the LA Galaxy. More than likely, the Red Bulls will turn once again to Greg Sutton in goal after he posted a clean sheet against Toronto, despite some shaky play. If a new goalkeeper is brought in as the Red Bulls have indicated is in the works, Bouna Coundoul is the more likely of the two current goalies to be traded away as his salary is over $100,000 higher than Sutton's.
This game is important for the Red Bulls not just because every point counts toward their quest to win the Supporters' Shield, but also because anything better than a 4-0 loss would clinch their third overall and first back-to-back Atlantic Cup win, which goes to the winner of the regular season series between DC United and New York.
Kickoff is at 7:30, and you can watch the game on MSG if you can't get out to Red Bull Arena. We'll have a match thread going here as always, so drop by and share your thoughts on New York's performance against The Great Satan.