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New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders Preview

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Neither of these gentlemen will be playing on Thursday. Still a nice picture.
Neither of these gentlemen will be playing on Thursday. Still a nice picture.

As if we didn't have enough Northwestern soccer craziness on Sunday, the New York Red Bulls visit the Seattle Sounders tonight for part two of their week-long road trip of three games in eight days. The Red Bulls haven't lost in six matches both overall and on the road, but will face a huge home crowd at newly renamed CenturyLink Field (the Sounders have sold about 45,000 tickets) and must try to take a result from this game without Thierry Henry or Luke Rodgers.

Although the Sounders' fans may whine, their team has actually had a pretty good first half of the season. After failing to win in any of their first four games, Seattle has gone 6-2-5 since, putting them third in the Western Conference and the overall MLS table. Fortunately for New York, the Sounders haven't been particularly good at home, winning just one of their last four matches at (what was then) Qwest Field.

The two sides already clashed once this season, in the Red Bulls' opening game of the campaign at Red Bull Arena. A brilliant second-half goal from Juan Agudelo gave New York a 1-0 victory, but the Red Bulls were the better side for much of the match and deserved the three points. The Red Bulls came away from Seattle last year with a win by exactly the same margin, as Macoumba Kandji's tap-in proved the difference between the two sides.

On the injury front, the news is exactly the same as it was against Portland: Carl Robinson, Chris Albright, and Luke Rodgers all miss out. Rodgers will probably also miss this weekend's visit to Chicago, but could be available for the trip out to San Jose next weekend. Thierry Henry is suspended after receiving a ridiculous red card against Portland, while Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo, and Rafael Márquez are headed to the Gold Cup Final at the Rose Bowl on Saturday evening. For Seattle, O'Brian White, Steve Zakuani, and Brad Evans are long-term absentees and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is suspended, but Alvaro Fernandez should be fit to play.

Expected Starting XI (4-4-2 diamond/4-1-3-2):

Greg Sutton; Roy Miller, Stephen Keel, Carlos Mendes, Jan Gunnar Solli; Austin da Luz, Teemu Tainio, Joel Lindpere, Mehdi Ballouchy; Dwayne De Rosario, Dane Richards

This will be the Red Bulls' second 10 PM kickoff in succession, and you can watch the game on ESPN2. As always, we'll have a match thread going here on Once A Metro, so stop by, share your thoughts on the game, and dish out some abuse to the most self-aggrandizing fanbase in MLS. Let's go Red Bulls.