The New York Red Bulls are in a rut. In the last three weeks we've seen the team lose by two to the Columbus Crew, play a snoozer of a nil-nil draw at home against the Philadelphia Union and take a humiliating loss on the road against a terrible, terrible Chivas USA. Needless to say, New York has seen better weeks. Thankfully, the Red Bulls have a chance of turning it around and getting back on track this Saturday night when they take on D.C. United, currently the worst team in Major League Soccer.
Here's what we know:
- D.C. United are bad.
- It doesn't matter bad they are.
We thought both Columbus and Chivas were bad and look how well that turned out for us. If there's one thing to be taken away from New York's season to this point, it's the fact that there's no such thing as an easy win. The Red Bulls love to keep things interesting...and by "interesting," I really mean mind numbingly frustrating. New York needs to go into this game as if their season is on the line. At this point, the possibility of missing the playoffs isn't completely far fetched. This is a must win.
Here's what we don't know:
- Which new faces are we going to see?
We had some fun presenting our own lineup ideas earlier this week, but we really have no clue who we're going to see starting on Saturday night. Mike Petke seems to be sticking with the usual suspects even though it's clear that the Red Bulls' wing play has been less than inspiring lately. A current lack of any attacking spark paired with some recent injuries to the back line means we might be seeing some new faces on the pitch this weekend. Ibrahim Sekagya will mostly like fill in for Jamison Olave at center back again, but who will take over at left back for an injured Roy Miller? Could we see the debut of former Australian international David Carney or will Petke decide on the safe choice and let Kosuke Kimura fill in for a second week in a row? Fabian Espindola is another question mark. You can't really blame him for his two missed opportunities against Chivas USA, Dan Kennedy is just a mutant of a keeper. Still, it was hard to miss Espindola's attitude after being pull off the pitch. Could we see Bradley Wright-Phillips starting in his place?
- Will the Red Bulls finally wake up?
New York usually does a pretty good job of getting up for matches against their long time rivals, D.C. They completely dominated possession and shots on goal during the two team's first matchup of the season though that game ended in a nil-nil draw. The next meeting saw New York beat United 0-2 at RFK Stadium. All signs point to New York easily winning Saturday's match......but like I said, what the Red Bulls should do isn't exactly what they will do. United is a much different team than they were during the last two matches. The addition of Luis Silva brings some much needed energy to their struggling midfield and Dwayne De Rosario looks like he might be getting a little bit of his form back as of late.
Here's what we think:
D.C. United have a knack for spoiling seasons for the New York Red Bulls. They might be the worst team in the league, but nothing would salvage the season in the eyes of their supporters like stealing three points from New York while in Red Bull Arena. During a time when New York needs every point they can get to ensure a spot in the playoffs, United is already all but eliminated so they have nothing to lose. Don't expect them to park the bus. D.C. is going to come into this game with a focus on attack. They will test New York's injured back line and keep the pressure going for the full ninety. This is going to be a fun one to watch.