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What we know and what we don't: LA Galaxy

In which we have a look at the upcoming match against LA's better half.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls are heading into Sunday's match against the LA Galaxy continuing their up and down season. After experiencing one of their biggest "ups" of the year from beating the Seattle Sounders 4-1 last Saturday, New York followed up with what could arguably be called their lowest "down"  as they were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League after failing to beat a weak CD Fas side in El Salvador on Wednesday night.   Now the team is looking to turn things around, yet again, by playing a red hot Galaxy on the road in Los Angeles.

Here's what we know:

  • It's all about the playoffs.
New York started 2014 with three different tournaments on their plate.  The MLS regular season, The U.S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League.   Now, as the year starts to wind down, RBNY has lightened their own load significantly.   Thanks to a complete lack of effort in the USOC and, what looked to be, a lack of depth in CCL, RBNY only has one thing left to fight for, making the MLS playoffs and gunning for MLS Cup.  With nothing left to distract them, the Red Bulls have zero excuses.  This Sunday's match against LA is all about getting a result and some much needed separation between them and the other teams battling for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.   Currently holding onto the fifth and final spot above the red line, a win, or even a draw would help distance RBNY from both the Philadelphia Union (currently three points behind) and Toronto FC (one point behind).

  • LA is really, really good.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the Galaxy have been on a bit of a hot streak lately.  They haven't lost in their last seven matches and have been finding the back of the net like nobody's business.   Robbie Keane continues to be one of the league's most consistent and impressive designated players, while Gyasi Zardes seems to be hell bent on proving that he deserves some consideration for a call up to the US national team.  Together, they have lit the league on fire and secured their team a spot in a very competitive Western Conference playoff race....all with the help, of course, of American soccer legend, Landon Donovan.   Rounding out his last year of competitive play before his retirement from professional soccer, Donovan is also playing like someone with something to prove.  Make no mistake, going up against New York on national Television, during primetime, means LD is going to be playing for keeps.

Here's what we don't know:

  • How is the team feeling?
The Red Bulls are coming off an incredibly disappointing result against CD Fas on Wednesday night.  Immediately following that match, the team flew directly to Los Angeles to get ready for this Sunday's match.  Not only is the team operating on little rest, but they're also dealing with some injury.  Lloyd Sam left Wednesday's match in the first half with a hamstring issue and his status is up in the air for Sunday.   Rookie revelation Ambroise Oyongo is also dealing with a hammy and will most likely miss the match against the Galaxy.  Fortunately,  team captain Thierry Henry, as well as Tim Cahill and league goal scoring leader Bradley Wright-Phillips are all rested and ready for the game.

  • Can New York get a win on the road?
The Red Bulls haven't won away from Red Bull Arena since June 8th when they beat the New England Revolution in Gillette Stadium.  That's almost four months of crappy results away from home.  Luckily, New York goes on a bit of a home stand after this week but a win on the road would go a long way in bolstering confidence and keeping the team hot during the most important time of the season.