It's been a while since the Red Bulls played their last league game. But tomorrow they're set to play for the first time in 22 days down in Chester, Pa. against the Philadelphia Union. I won't blame you if that fact slipped your mind. But to help you out, here's a handy FAQ to get you back up to speed.
Q: I thought the Red Bulls season was over. It's not?
A: No, the Red Bulls season isn't over. They just haven't played an MLS game in three weeks. There was an Open Cup game in there, but we'd all just rather forget about that one...
Q: So they weren't just, like, contracted or something?
A: No. This isn't 2001. Or Arena Football.
Q: Ok, well how are the Red Bulls doing?
A: They were up near the top of the league for a bit, but they also had way more games played than the rest of the league. During the break, most of the rest of MLS caught up to the Red Bulls in terms of games played, and now they sit fifth in the league and second in the East with 25 points in 16. The Montreal Impact lead the chase for the Supporters' Shield with 29 points in 14 games. Two of the three teams ahead of the Red Bulls -- Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers -- have 16 games played and are tied on 27 points, while FC Dallas sits in second with 28 points in 15 games.
Q: Wait...so they still have the most games played, despite being off for three weeks?
A: No one has ever accused MLS of being reasonable.
Q: So who are the Red Bulls playing tomorrow?
A: The Philadelphia Union.
Q: Isn't that a rivalry?
A: Only if you talk to Union fans.
Q: Well...ok. How are they doing?
A: In my opinion, they're outperforming expectations. They're seventh in the league and third in the East with 22 points in 15 games. The'yre 2-2-1 in their last five and 3-2-2 at home.
Q: But the Red Bulls are rested after such a long break, right?
A: Most of them, yeah. But they'll be missing Jamison Olave (who was red carded in the 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps), Juninho (due to yellow card accumulation) and Tim Cahill (personal reasons/injury).
Q: So it'll be a tough one?
A: Depends on how you guys feel about Eric Alexander, who will probably slide centrally to cover for the loss of Cahill and Juninho, Lloyd Sam, who will likely fill in on the right wing, and Fabian Espindola, who hasn't scored in a long time.
The one thing working in the Red Bulls favor is that they've have the Union's number. Home or away, the Red Bulls haven't lost to the Union since April 2011 and are 7-2-0 all time against the Philadelphia side.
Q: They will have Thierry Henry, though, right?
A: There's no turf involved and, as far as I know, he isn't being held for ransom in Colombia, so he should be around.
Q: What's your prediction?
A: 2-1 Red Bulls.