After a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Union and without a win in three games, the New York Red Bulls face up to another side that inflicted a painful defeat upon them last season, the San Jose Earthquakes. The 'Quakes were expected to be the first step on New York's path to the MLS Cup, but instead they pulled off a huge upset at Red Bull Arena, ensuring that New York would end another season without claiming the final prize.
Hans Backe's team hasn't gotten off to the same flying start as in the head coach's debut year. The possession-based style has triumphed, but New York's attack has looked rather impotent. Is tonight finally the game in which Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry, and Dwayne De Rosario reveal their immense offense threat?
The starting XI should be identical to the one New York sent out last week against Philadelphia. Greg Sutton remains out due to concussion symptoms which means that Bouna Coundoul will man the net for the Red Bulls. Chris Albright is still some weeks from a return - although Jan Gunnar Solli has likely taken over the right back slot from the American.The Earthquakes have had a similar season as the Red Bulls thus far as they enter tonight's match on five points as well. The 'Quakes have drawn two consecutive games at home after defeating FC Dallas in Texas. Simon Dawkins, a youngster from the Tottenham academy, has been the star for San Jose, tallying two goals in the last two matches.
The most enduring image from 2010 might not come from Joel Lindpere's opening goals at Red Bull Arena nor Juan Pablo Angel's stunning free-kick against the Houston Dynamo. It comes from the last match of the season when Bobby Convey slipped behind Rafa Marquez and leveled the playoff series. You know the rest from there; I don't need to go into too much detail about the additional Convey goal or the glimmer of provided provided by a 78th minute Angel goal. And I know I don't need to mention Wondolowski's winner.
If you can't make it out to Harrison, you can catch the match at 7:30 PM on MSG (although Shep will be a poor replacement for the sounds of RBA), and stop by our match thread to share your comments.