In what the MLS is describing as the "Biggest Game of the Year", the New York Red Bulls are set to square off against the Galaxy in Los Angeles. Both teams have played extremely well this year and when they met earlier this year at the cathedral known as Red Bull Arena, Los Angeles came away with the W. A lot factored into that win and hopefully with the recent changes, the Red Bulls have figured out how to stop Landon Donovan and David Beckham. There will be certain changes in the line up as Thierry Henry did not travel with the team due to a knee injury.
Juan Pablo Angel is back in the starting lineup, sharing the attack with Mehdi Ballouchy. It will be interesting to see how they play together as Ballouchy fit nicely with Henry at Dallas. It will get interesting when Henry/Angel/Ballouchy are all in the starting line up as it will be the first time in quite a few years that the team has a legitimate Central Attacking Midfielder feeding the ball. When Backe makes this decision, expect rookie wonderkid Tony Tchani to get benched.
This game will be much different as David Beckham is back in "soccer shape" and Rafael Marquez is fitting in with the team. While I would like to see Henry playing, I expect the Red Bulls to come away with the victory. My opinion is that when it comes to talent and depth, the only team in the MLS who is comparable is Real Salt Lake and with recent moves, their bench depth will carry them to Toronto.
Currently the Red Bulls have players who could be considered for all post season awards:
MVP: Juan Pablo Angel (potentially could win the golden boot)
Manager of the Year: Hans Backe
Rookie of the Year: Tim Ream
New Comer of the Year: Joel Lindpere
Goalie of the Year: Bouna Coundoul (
leading the league in cleansheets EDIT: I miss counted. Bouna has 8 on the season, not 13 like I initially thought)
Comeback Player of the Year: Mehdi Ballouchy
That's a ton of talent on one team and that doesn't include Henry or Marquez. I wish the team could play consistently but with how they are currently playing, I can't complain.
Join us tonight for a game discussion.