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Irene Lets Red Bulls Bide Their Time before Showdown with LA

I could’ve made the headline a parody of "Come on Eileen," but aren’t you glad I didn’t?
I could’ve made the headline a parody of "Come on Eileen," but aren’t you glad I didn’t?

The impending hurricane has thrown a monkey wrench in just about everybody's plans this weekend, including the Red Bulls, as their fixture with the Galaxy was postponed until October 4.

Aside from those of you with tickets to the match - for who the news is almost certainly a letdown - the news is positive for the Red Bulls and gives the team some time to build some momentum before facing off against the best side in MLS.

But the time gap isn't the only positive for the beleaguered side.

Postponing the game will allow the Red Bulls to have their best combination in the midfield. Teemu Tainio was scheduled to serve his red card suspension for a reckless challenge against New England versus LA Sunday. He'll sit out September 10's match-up with the bottom-feeding Vancouver Whitecaps instead, allowing Backe to put the team's best holding midfield option on the pitch: Tainio with Dax McCarty.

The alternative is the ever-present specter of Mehdi Ballouchy, whose accumulation of consistent minutes boggles the mind of many a Red Bull fan. He might see a start anyway, with Backe's confidence in him seemingly unwavering despite a litany of grievances against his game. Simply, the option of having the McCarty-Tainio combination in the midfield is more than enough to put a checkmark in the positive category.

In another stroke of serendipity for the Red Bulls, the rescheduled match is slotted in the midst of a glut of matches for the Galaxy, with the CONCACAF Champions League picking up. Los Angeles will play Costa Rican side LD Alajuelense in Costa Rica September 21 and the Crew in Columbus September 24. Then the Galaxy have two home games, the first against Mexican side Monarcas Morelia on September 28 then Real Salt Lake on October 1 before heading cross-country for their match against the Red Bulls on October 4.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's four games in in fourteen days, with the side criss-crossing the continent to play them.

In the same time frame the Red Bulls play three games all nearby, first against Real Salt Lake at home on September 21, then against the Portland Timbers at home on September 24 and finally against Toronto FC on October 1 in Toronto.

One less game, sure, but a whole lot less travel.

The Galaxy will almost definitely come with some combination of starters and reserves for some of these games, but the Red Bulls have another advantage: The Galaxy might have the Supporters Shield and a playoff spot sewn up by October 4. Postponing the match leaves three games left on the MLS calendar, which might give the Galaxy the luxury of resting starters for the Champions League and the playoffs, pitting the Red Bulls, who will almost certainly need the points, against the Galaxy's reserves.

The next closest team to the Galaxy in terms of points are the Seattle Sounders, with 45 points versus LA's 51. The teams are even in terms of games played and the two finished their season series in early July playing to a Don Garber-disapproved 0-0 tie, making that scenario more than possible.

Finally, newly acquired Galaxy striker Robbie Keane has international duty to tend to October 7 and 11 against Russia and Slovakia. Its possible Keane takes himself out of the game against the Red Bulls to rest up for a run with Ireland through Euro 2012 qualifying.

If the Red Bulls can manage to turn things around before October 4, they could secure three points against the league's best, who are playing at a circumstantial disadvantage. Whether they can do that remains to be seen, but you never know with this team. They just might be able to give the Galaxy a run for their money.

Of course, all this is dependent on a still-standing Red Bull Arena post-Irene.