The Red Bulls look to make it three wins in a row to start the 2010 campaign when they visit Chivas USA in Carson, California (4:00 P.M. ET/1:00 P.M. PT). New York visits a Chivas side that has yet to tally a goal in their first two matches of the season, and undoubtedly the Red Bulls will try and keep their clean sheet streak alive. While this sounds like it sets up well for the Red Bulls, you have to think the Goats will be totally desperate today to try and avoid a miserable start.
There's some surprising and good news for the Red Bulls, as according to Big Apple Soccer, head coach Hans Backe arrived in Los Angeles a day after the team did and is expected to be on the sidelines for the match. After missing last week's match at Seattle with intense stomach pains, and having his gall bladder removed on Tuesday, it would be a very quick recovery for Backe to be coaching today. The Red Bulls have been in a good rhythm with the new coaching staff, and while assistant coach Richie Williams is a viable back-up option, it's good to see that Backe won't miss too much significant time. The team hasn't lost a match (preseason, friendly, regular season) under the Swede so far.
The Red Bulls will have to contain Chivas' best player, US International Sacha Kljestan. While Cuban striker Maykel Galindo poses a threat at forward with his speed, he has had tons of trouble scoring in the past few seasons. Kljestan is the engine in the midfield for the Goats, and disrupting him will go a long way towards the Red Bulls efforts of keeping another clean sheet. Outside of Kljestan, Chivas is still looking for some kind of chemistry, as new manager Martin Vazquez is just one of many new faces in town. With Carl Robinson still injured, expect a similar lineup that trotted out last week for the Red Bulls. I would like to see Seth Stammler resume his role in central midfield alongside Joel Lindpere. The so-far-perfect back should remain intact, barring any last-minute surprises. Here's how we can expect the Red Bulls to line up:
---Ubiparipovic--- ---Lindpere--- ---Stammler--- ---Richards---
---Miller--- ---Petke--- ---Ream--- ---Hall---
The Red Bulls announced the official signing of Belgian striker Ibrahim Salou (or is it Salou Ibrahim? I guess we'll find out). Salou is available today, but with Mac Kandji netting last week's only goal, expect to see him get the nod at forward next to Juan Pablo Angel. I think the selection at left midfield between Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Danleigh Borman is a toss up, but we'll give the nod to Sinisa.
New York is 2-0-0, and Juan Pablo Angel is still without a goal. That's a good sign, but don't expect it to continue. They'll need him to score to win some games, and he will. The Red Bulls can't keep a clean sheet, but it doesn't keep them from continuing their hot start, as Angel nabs a brace in a 2-1 win.
We urge you to post some comments before, during and after the match, and of course follow along on the Once A Metro Twitter page where I'll be commentating on the proceedings. Check back after the match for plenty of post-game reaction.