Okay, so last week's match against Vancouver didn't exactly go like we had expected. To put it bluntly, the New York Red Bulls were completely embarrassed on and off the pitch. The good news is, they had a nice long flight back home to sit and think about what they had done wrong and how they can fix it in this weekend's home Opener against the Colorado Rapids.
Here's what we know:
- New York is back to full strength
The Red Bulls went into Vancouver without Thierry Henry or Jamison Olave in order to prevent them from playing on the Whitecaps' concrete pitch. The two starters' absence was obvious from the first whistle as New York was completely bossed all over the field. Fortunately, both players will be reinserted into the starting lineup this Saturday and their presence should be felt immediately. Olave will bring some much needed familiarity and confidence to a back line that seemed to struggle without him, while Henry bolsters an already solid attacking core.
- Colorado is not
As of this morning, it looks like both midfielder (and last year's rookie of the year winner) Dillon Powers, along with starting goal keeper Clint Irwin, will both be scratches for tomorrow's game. Powers is still recovering from tendonitis in his knee and has himself said he's not fully 100%, while Irwin has been sidelined with some kind of muscle problem in his leg. The Rapids will have to count on 2014 SuperDraft pick, John Berner to make his first MLS start in order to fill in for Irwin. You can expect New York's attack to put a ton of pressure on the rookie keeper.
- We should see a more familiar back line
Jamison Olave is back, Roy Miller is rested and Kosuke Kimura will most likely start at right back after Richard Eckersley's miserable performance last week. While the second centerback spot is up for grabs between Ibrahim Sekagya and Armando, we will be seeing a back four that is more similar to last year's than last week's. A more familiar back line means better communication which means better performance overall and a happy Luis Robles.
Here's what we don't know:
- What Colorado looks like
- What will Petke be thinking?
The one thing we can be certain of is that it was a long offseason and tomorrow's match will be a much welcome return to the pitch inside of Red Bull Arena. Regardless of Mike Petke's opinion on the matter, we'll all get one more chance to celebrate the Supporter's Shield champions as they unfurl a long missing banner to mark the occasion. After that, it's a whole new season. Let's keep our eyes on the cup.