The New York Red Bulls, coming off of their second straight loss after dropping a 2-0 result on the road at Toronto FC. They'll be able to lick their wounds when the struggling Portland Timbers come to visit.
Here's what we know:
The team that scores first has been a big indicator in how the Red Bulls have done this year. In 12 matches so far, the Red Bulls have coincided the first goal 8 times. In those 8 games, they have a record of 0-4-4, 4 points. When the Red Bulls score first, they are 3-1-0, 10 points. The defense has had it's up and downs this year, but they need to hold the line early, and the offense needs to start scoring early. They only have scored 1 goal in the first 15 minutes, and that was against the Houston Dynamo (12th minute).
Crazy match up
Portland-NY has always been a crazy series since Portland joined the league in 2011. There have been 2 3-3 draws in Portland, where New York has never won, and Portland has never gotten a point in New York (2-0 loss in 2011, 3-2 loss in 2012). This series has seen both yellow and red cards. It's seen penalty kicks and regular run of play goals. While no one can really predict what will happen, what we do know is that we're in for a treat.
The Red Bulls will be without Tim Cahill and Roy Miller, who are out on World Cup duty, and may miss Peguy Luyindula again this week. The team, while they played well in stretches against Toronto, couldn't get the job done missing their big pieces, and we can expect the same again this week.
Here's what we don't know:
The Red Bulls have to travel to Sporting Kansas City to play a game on Tuesday, meaning there will only be 2 days of rest. Petke has said he will not treat this game any differently, but it will probably affect how he uses his subs. Expect to see some younger guys like Chris Duvall to see significant minutes. The only thing we don't know is how those young guys will do.
What Portland team will show up?
Portland is1-7-4 this year. Their backline has leaked goals this year. Their offense is just getting going. They aren;t playing like the 2013 West Champions (not that NY is playing like Supporter Shield winners). However, given the boost New York gave Chicago two weeks ago, we may see a different Portland team that in the start of this year.
The PATH train
For those heading out to the stadium on Saturday, be warned that the PATH isn't treating this as a "major holiday" despite it being Memorial Day weekend. The trains will still be running on the modified construction schedule. It's unknown how this will affect the crowd, which is usually late arriving. They showed up late against Chicago, and I can't imagine the holiday traffic helping out the cause.Can the Red Bulls bounce back from two straight losses and beat a struggling Portland?