The Red Bulls look to continue their winning ways at Red Bull Arena on Saturday when hosting the current MLS & Western Conferences Leaders, Real Salt Lake. This is an important game for NY as they'll be on the road for the next two games, at Sporting KC and Columbus. A win, while not critical certainly is needed to help with NY's stretch run. Here are the keys to the game for NY to come out on top.
"Salt Lake East"
NY traded with Real Salt Lake to bring in Jamison Olave & Fabian Espindola in the off season. Due to the current scheduling format, this will be the only time of the year for Olave and Espindola to show Salt Lake why it was a mistake getting rid of them. Olave of course has been solid for NY this year, bringing a steady presence to the back line and forged a great relationship with Markus Holgersson.
On the other hand, Espindola has had an up and down year, not really getting in sync with his strike partner, Thierry Henry. With the signing of Bradley Wright-Phillips this week, the pressure has to be on Espindola to finally get his production going. If he has a few more mediocre games, the call for his replacement will get loud.
As was pointed out by Tim Dean yesterday, not only will Salt Lake be without starter Nick Rimando, they'll be without backup Josh Saunders due to injury. That means that third string Jeff Attinella will be in goal for Salt Lake, giving NY an obvious advantage at the Goalkeeper position. NY needs to get shots on goal early and often this match to take advantage, something they didn't do in Toronto.
Full Strength Team
The NY team will be at full strength, while Salt Lake will be without one of their best players, Kyle Beckerman. Álvaro Saborío will be rejoining Salt Lake after Costa Rica was bounced out of the Gold Cup, but don't expect him to really be a Red Bull killer this week. While RSL has been the better team this year, this is a prime opportunity for NY to secure a win.