The New York Red Bulls travel up to Massachusetts this Sunday in the hopes of taking at least one point away from their match against the New England Revolution. The Revs are a young team that have far exceeded expectations so far this season, while an aging (and limping) New York has been disappointing in their hopes to defend last year's Supporter's Shield. This could get ugly.....
Here's what we know:
- New York is hurting and they're hurting bad.
Due to a mix of poorly timed injuries, World Cup call ups and synthetic grass allergies, the Red Bulls are going to be missing a good chunk of their usual starting lineup. Let's take a deep breath and go down the list: Dax McCarty (knee surgery), Tim Cahill (World Cup), Roy Miller (World Cup), Thierry Henry (turf allergy), Jamison Olave (turf allergy). Who did I miss? While the last two haven't been specifically ruled out yet, anyone who's been watching this team for the last few years knows that it's basically a certainty. With almost half of the starting eleven down for the count, New York is going to have a tough go of it in the house that Kraft built.
- The Revolution is hot.
After losing one time Red Bull and main offensive threat, Juan Agudelo to Europe, the Revolution didn't have much on their shoulders by way of expectations. A shaky start to 2014 with two losses kept in line with that. Then the Revs started winning, and winning pretty. Recent high school graduate (congratulations, by the way) Diego Fagundez and his strike partner and rookie, Patrick Mullins, have been on fire for the Revolution ever since their 5-0 shellacking of the Seattle Sounders. The Red Bulls' patch work back line are going to be hard pressed to deal with the speed of the two young forwards who will be looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic loss to the Montreal Impact last week.
- Winning in New England and RBNY don't exactly mix.
By our records, the New York Red Bulls haven't managed to win on the road in New England in over sixty years. Perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement but it certainly feels accurate. The way things are shaping up, it doesn't look like this week will break the streak.
Here's what we don't know:
- Who's going to play?
As if there haven't been enough questions about New York's lineup this season, a slew of absences have created even more. Will Eric Alexander move back into the midfield to cover for Dax McCarty? Will Peguy Luyindula start up top next to Bradley Wright-Phillips or will he play as the attacking midfielder? Does he even play at all? Does Mike Petke decide to take a risk and play young guns Andre Akpan, Rubin Bover, Michael Bustamante or Marius Obekop in order to get them some minutes before the U.S. Open Cup match against the Cosmos next week? There are any number of lineup combinations we could possibly see taking shape this Sunday. Hopefully, whichever Petke decides to go with will be able to get the job done.