What We Know
Bad Teams Do Well
The New York Red Bulls have a terrible track record this year of making bad teams look really good. The San Jose Earthquakes come into the match on Saturday with a 4-8-4 record (16 points). They are 1-4-1 (4 points) on the road. Given San Jose's form (1-0-4, 3 points, in last 5), it spells a recipe for disaster.
There will be fireworks in some form or another at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. Hopefully some of it will be on the field performance of the Red Bulls, but if not, at least those in attendance will have fireworks after the game.
Thierry Henry/Bradley Wright-Phillips
Can we just name these two the dynamic duo already? Henry leads the league in assists at 10, and Wright-Phillips leads the league with 16 goals. Their combination play in Philadelphia was a thing of beauty and is the perfect example of how they play well together. If they can keep it up, the offense should have no problem scoring on San Jose.
What We Don't
Jekyll and Hyde Defense
The Red Bulls defense has given up at least 1 goal in each of the last four games. In a 4-1 win over Columbus, they had a poor first half, but then a very solid second half. In Philly, they didn't play well at all. Throughout the year, the defense has been inconsistent. What defense will we get on Saturday? The stout defense that won the 2013 supporter's shield, or the poor 2014 defense that has given up 34 goals.
Mike Petke, after the Union match, said that the poor performance against the Union could be attributed to fatigue. The Red Bulls had 3 days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) off before the game in Philadelphia. They will have 2 full days (Thursday, Friday) of rest before hosting the Earthquakes. How will fatigue affect the Red Bulls performance? Can we expect Petke to bail out his players with another poor excuse?
The Red Bulls haven't had many Saturday night home games in 2014, and this week's is the first such game after the World Cup. Will the Red Bulls get an attendance bounce from the World Cup? We'll see, but we do know the PATH train from World Trade Center being shutdown will hurt attendance at the start of the game.
Wondolowski could have put away a game winner for the United States' in their round of 16 match against Belgium, but he didn't. The question is, what kind of treatment should we expect the South Ward to hand out?