It has been almost three weeks since the New York Red Bulls went into New England as obvious underdogs yet still came out with a full three points, heading into the World Cup break on a high note. Sadly, the good feelings were soon cut short when the Red Bulls suffered a humiliating US Open Cup defeat at the hands of cross town rivals, the New York Cosmos. Tonight, after two weeks' rest, RBNY will play Toronto FC to restart the 2014 MLS season.
Here's what we know.
- Jermain Defoe is dangerous
Last month, New York traveled to Toronto only to get stomped 2-0. A big reason for the loss was Jermain Defoe. The English striker went into that match with a massive chip on his shoulder after having just been snubbed from making the final, twenty-three man, English World Cup squad. Scoring a beauty of a goal early on, Defoe was enough of a problem for New York's back line that he completely disrupted them for the entire game. Now that England has been eliminated, Defoe is going to want to send a message straight to Roy Hodgson. What better way to say "should have called me up" than hanging one or two goals on the Red Bulls during your first game after the break?
- The captain returns
Thierry Henry traveled to Brazil in order to work as a pundit for the BBC during the group stage of the World Cup. A lot of folks voiced concerns that the Red Bulls' captain would rather stay in Brazil than return in time to play in this match. The concerns, thankfully, have been proven unnecessary. Henry is back in New York and will be available to play tonight. Here's hoping his play will be inspired by what he's seen in the cup.
- No Bradley, no problem
Michael Bradley is staying in Brazil and won't be in Toronto's lineup this evening. While this is great news for Americans and bad news for Canadians, it's not really any news for Red Bulls fans. Bradley was absent the last time these two teams met, yet Toronto still easily won the match....and that was with Dax McCarty in the New York's midfield. McCarty will not play tonight in order to allow his knee to continue healing.
Here's what we don't know:
- Will Cahill play?
Everyone knows that, if it was up to him, Tim Cahill would never miss a match. The Australian forward is coming off of his third World Cup, in which he scored what is arguably one of the best goals of the tournament so far and arrived back in New York this past Wednesday night. It's most likely that, after just one day of training with the Red Bulls before tonight's match, Cahill will start the game on the bench and come on as a late game sub. Still, there's no doubt that the Socceroo will be pushing for his old starting spot.
- How about Miazga?
Young center back, Matt Miazga, has only gotten two starts during his short Red Bull career, but he played well in both of them. With Dax McCarty out, will we see Ibrahim Sekagya slotted into the destroyer position, letting Miazga hold on to his spot in the back line? If so, he's going to get his first taste of world class opposition in Jermain Defoe. You can rest assured that Defoe will target the teenage defender as much as possible. If Miazga is able to keep him from scoring, he may just lockdown his place in the starting eleven for good.