After conceding an early goal, the Red Bulls only managed to draw despite dominating the LA Galaxy last Sunday. This week, they face the Colorado Rapids.
The Rapids have had a rough start to their 2015 season, only managing to earn one win in their first seven fixtures. Scoring woes have plagued Pablo Mastroeni's side early on, with the entire squad combining for six goals so far. To give things more perspective, four of those six goals came in their only win against F.C. Dallas. In other words, they've found the back of the net in three out of their seven games.
Although the offense has been lacking, the Rapids do have one thing they can boast about: their defense. Colorado have posted four shut outs this season, which is twice the amount of shut outs the Red Bulls have managed to keep. A lot of this can be attributed to the play of goalkeeper Clint Irwin, whose saves have spared Colorado some blushes.
This shutout streak has especially been useful to Colorado on the road. With one win and two draws, the Rapids are undefeated away from home and have managed to keep shutouts in all of these matches. Although this would normally bode well for the visitors, it should be noted that the Rapids have only 1 win in their last 21 MLS matches.
What could help the visitors is fatigue. The Red Bulls are coming off of a frustrating match against Los Angeles with only two days to recuperate. The draw saw the Red Bulls lose their share of first place in the Eastern Conference, but with less matches played than the opposition, they're in prime position to catch up.
"It's a good result in the sense that we came back from one down," said captain Dax McCarty. "but it's a bad result in the sense that I think we dominated the game and I feel like we dropped two points today, so it's a little frustrating."
Although the match didn't necessarily go the way McCarty might have hoped, the Red Bulls still have plenty of things to be happy about. For one, they're still the only unbeaten team in the league. In addition to keeping that streak alive, the Red Bulls have also found the back of the net in every MLS match since September 28th, 2014.
There's also one player who seems quite happy about the short turnaround time. Although he was listed as day-to-day because of a hamstring injury, Lloyd Sam seemed content with being substituted in the 60th minute against LA. "With me playing 60 minutes today, I feel like I'm ready to go again whenever the next game is," said Sam. With the Englishman enjoying a spectacular start to the season, it's a good sign for the Red Bulls that he is fit and ready to go.
The Red Bulls are closing out a three game home stand, and with a road trip to New England looming, they'll want to keep the positive momentum rolling.
Who To Watch
RBNY: Felipe Martins. The Brazilian is showing signs of what he can do, but there's still more that he can do. A lucky goal will hopefully boost his confidence and in turn, his level of play.
COL: Axel Sjoberg. The rookie center back has been an absolute rock in the back for the Rapids. He's been a huge part of the reason why the Rapids have been able to keep so many shut outs.
Last Time They Met
March 15, 2014. Red Bulls 1-1 Rapids
The Red Bulls went ahead thanks to Thierry Henry, but a late penalty from Vicente Sanchez earned the Rapids a road point.
The match is at 7:30 PM on Wednesday.