Somewhat lost amongst the buzz over last week's Cascadia rivalry thriller between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders, another, older MLS rivalry match is about to take place. This time on the east coast, in the dilapidated, run down, raccoon infested grounds of RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Much like the venue in which it will take place, this rivalry has been neglected by most these days. Fortunately "most" does not include the players on the pitch, the coaches on the sidelines or the supporters in the stands. While so called "rivalries" of the Pacific Northwest may enjoy truces and tifo agreements, there is no such goodwill between RBNY's South Ward and DC's whats their faces. So let's take a look at this Saturday night's match between the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United and find out what we can expect.
Here's what we know:
- RBNY is still plagued by injuries.
Tim Cahill and Roy Miller are both nursing knocks that could potentially keep them out of Saturday's match. Bobby Convey recently left a training session early due to an injury and Armando is still hobbled by a strained hamstring. Considering the fact that New York is still gunning for their first win of the season, going into Washington DC at anything less than full strength is a cause for concern. Does this club have the depth to churn out three points without their optimal starting eleven?
- Help is on the way!
It's never great to have as many injuries as the Red Bulls are currently dealing with, but there is some good news for New York. Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave will both be returning to the pitch after missing last week's match due to terrible turf in Montreal. Olave's return is huge for a struggling and hurt back four which will be tested by Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson all day.
Here's what we don't know:
- So who will we see in the back line anyway?
With more than half of New York's starting defenders carrying some kind of injury or another, it's anyone's guess who we'll see trotted out against United this Saturday night. Armando is probably out, Roy Miller is a game time decision, Richard Eckersley is nursing an ankle swollen to the size of a grapefruit and Kosuke Kimura seems to have a habit of getting knocked silly during games. The Red Bulls defense is spread so thin that coach Mike Petke may have to turn down a call up to the U-20 national team for home grown defender, Matt Miazga. The only certainty for Saturday is Jamison Olave.
- Will New York finally get their first win?
It's week six and the Red Bulls have yet to notch one under the win column. While their play has steadily improved week to week, that's small consolation to the fact that RBNY only has four points out of a possible fifteen. They need a win and the need one soon. Getting one on the road is never easy in MLS, but DC has looked far from impressive. They may not be the same doormat club as they were last season, but New York should be able to take a full three points out of RFK. If they fail to get a result, it may finally be time to start worrying.