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Preview: NY vs Seattle

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Where we see if the Red Bulls can knock off the best team in MLS.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Details

When: Saturday, September 20, 7:30 pm

Opponent: Seattle Sounders

TV: NBC Sports

Standings:

  • Seattle Sounders: 17-7-3, 54 pts, 1st in West & MLS
  • New York Red Bulls: 9-8-11, 38 pts, 4th in East

What We Know

Short rest


Both teams are coming off of short rest. The Red Bulls are coming off a Wednesday CONCACAF Champions League match in Montreal. The Sounders last played on Tuesday in a US Open Cup win over the Philadelphia Union in extra time. The difference though, is that the Red Bulls A-Squad didn’t play. Mike Petke gave his starters the day off after having played 3 games in 8 days. Seattle went all in for the USOC, so there best players were on the field for most, if not all of that game. The Red Bulls absolutely have an advantage on health. Speaking of…

Full health

Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, and Bradley Wright-Phillips are all set to play on Saturday after recovering from injuries. The Red Bulls missed Wright-Phillips in Philadelphia as Cahill & Henry couldn’t get it clicking on a water soaked field. Having all three guys healthy means that the Red Bulls should be deploying their "4-2-3-1" formation that we’ve recently seen with Cahill at center mid and Henry on the wing.

Sellout crowd

This match is expected to see a sellout crowd, and the current weather prediction (69-70 degrees & partly cloudy at kickoff) can only help the Red Bulls pack the stadium. The team, despite the Supporter’s Shield win last year, has not been able to draw 20,000 or more on Saturday nights on a regular basis. Obviously names like Dempsey & Yedlin are big draws after this year’s World Cup, but this is a chance for the Red Bulls to put on a show before NYC FC joins the league and possibly capture some hearts.

What We Don't

Who will cover DeAndre Yedlin?

Red Bull beat writer Franco Panzio asks a very interesting question about who will cover DeAndre Yedlin.

I personally would go with Ambroise Oyongo since DeAndre Yedlin has some crazy speed as was demonstrated in the USOC final on Tuesday.

Eric Alexander has more experience in the league, but you can’t teach speed. Oyongo is just faster and the Red Bulls will need to have that to cover Yedlin who likes to get into the attack.

C.D. FAS

The Red Bulls have to travel down to El Salvador on Wednesday to take on C.D. FAS in the Champions League. Since the Red Bulls are taking CCL seriously, and they absolutely need to win on Wednesday, can we some of the better reserves held out for then? It may depend on how the game is going. MLS Playoffs/Cup is going to be priority #1 no matter what anyone says. If that means that Petke sacrifices CCL, you can bet on it.

Can they get help?

The Red Bulls currently sit 4th in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race. 4th-8th are separated by only 6 points. They can get some help in matches this week as teams around them in the standings are playing each other this week, but are they lucky enough?

Predictions

Every game during the 2014 New York Red Bulls season will be predicted by Jason Iapicco, Matt Coyne, Tim Dean, Austin Fido, and Red Bull Rant co-hosts Patrick MacDonald, and Truman. We'll be tracking how well we do, awarding points for each prediction. For each game, 1 point will be awarded for correctly predicting a Win, Loss, or Draw; and 2 points for a correct score prediction. Let's take a look at predictions for the upcoming game.

Matt Coyne: 2-2 Draw

The Sounders will be a bit fatigued heading into this one after their 120 minute Open Cup win Tuesday, but lapses at the back for the Red Bulls will consign them to a point.

Tim Dean: 2-1 Loss

I believe that this team can stand toe to toe with any other team in MLS....on their good days. I'm not so sure Saturday is going to be one of those days. Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are deadly when they're on and it looks like they're about as on as they've ever been. Hard to see our defense stopping them.

Austin Fido: 1-1 Draw

Both teams are in the same boat: crowded schedules and tired legs. RBNY's legs will be more tired perhaps, but this is game 3 of a 5-matches-in-15-days stretch for Seattle. There may be some TV pressure to play the stars, but I think Sigi tries to rest a few guys and hopes to sneak out of Harrison with a draw. And we'll be a little too beat up to stop him.