Yes, ladies and gentleman - it's time for another edition of everyone's favorite game of chance, How Will the New York Red Bulls Screw It Up Tonight? Jaw-dropping defensive error? Lowlight reel-worthy goalkeeping gaffe? Silly sending off? Own goal from hell? You just never know with this team, so let's spin the big wheel and see where it lands. There's always the chance that the wheel could land on the rarely used "WIN" space, but let's not get crazy now. After all, that hasn't happened since early July!
What's more, New York is squaring off this evening against one of the league's more consistent teams, FC Dallas, and doing so without Jan Gunnar Solli and Rafael Márquez (suspended), Roy Miller (injured), and perhaps Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers (game time decisions). With their backs against the wall and their playoff hopes hanging by the slimmest of threads, the Red Bulls simply must find a way to prevail in order to keep their heads above water in the playoff race. Only a fool would put any stock in New York getting three points tonight, however. Based on the squad available, the negative body language in last weekend's 1-1 draw against lowly Vancouver Whitecaps and the team's consistent failure to perform in big games, another heaping dish of FAIL is probably on its way, so open wide!
The man at the helm, Schellas Hyndman, has also managed to navigate the early stages of the CONCACAF Champions League with aplomb. Despite substantial fixture congestion, Dallas find themselves well positioned in all competitions. The only potential worry for the home side tonight could be the absence of Brek Shea through suspension, but there should be more than enough depth in the FC Dallas squad to handle a depleted Red Bulls team that can't get out of its own way at the moment.
The previous meeting between these two teams this season ended in a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena, with a late wonderstrike from Henry earning New York a point.
The lineups are in and Henry did in fact not travel with the team due to a an Achilles problem. Rodgers, who had been a doubt to even play, gets the start:
Red Bulls: Frank Rost; Chris Albright, Stephen Keel, Tim Ream, Carlos Mendes, Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio, Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere, Juan Agudelo, Luke Rodgers
Subs: Bouna Coundoul, Matt Kassel, John Rooney, Brian Nielsen, Mehdi Ballouchy, Corey Hertzog, Stephane Auvray
FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman; Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez, Jackson Goncalves, Daniel Cruz, Daniel Hernandez, Ricardo Villar, Andrew Jacobson, Maicon Santos
Subs: Chris Seitz, Maykel Galindo, Fabian Castillo, Bobby Warshaw, Jeremy Hall, Jack Stewart, Ruben Luna
Tonight's game is being shown locally on MSG (an 8:30 PM start).