UPDATE: This is the starting lineup.
Coming off a big win in the Arena against their new found derby pseudo-rivals New York City Football Club, RBNY sit comfortably in third with nine games played in the Eastern Conference. The New York Red Bulls look to gain another three points this Friday at Toyota Stadium against FC Dallas, but how will their Starting XI shape up come kickoff? Let's take a look at this week's lineup prediction:
This week, I suspect we will see the same exact front six as we did against NYCFC on Mother's Day. The 4-2-3-1 formation looks settled up top: Bradley Wright-Phillips is the target, accompanied on the right by Mr. Lloyd Sam, who is possibly the number one Red Bull at the moment, and on the left by Long Island native Mike Grella. Sitting right behind Wright-Phillips, your attacking midfielder will once again be Sacha Kljestan and your defensive midfielders are the always-reliable Dax McCarty and Felipe Martins.
These starting six players should not come as a surprise, especially with Sal Zizzo injured and expected to be out for months.
The starting back line is still in question, as has been the case almost every week of the season thus far. This is where Jesse Marsch has numerous options and depth, with NYRB II players looking to break the Starting XI. But Marsch also has pressure, in the form of injuries, suspensions and pending international call-ups.
As they did against NYCFC, Damien Perrinelle, Kemar Lawrence, and Chris Duvall should be expected to start against Dallas. Duvall is the number one right back option for the Bulls week in and week out, and has been a reliable starter since opening day. His play behind Lloyd Sam allows him to make overlapping runs into the opposing team's side of the pitch and his pace complements McCarty's style of play.
Damien Perrinelle has also been a reliable starter this year for New York, with eight starts and a goal, there is no doubt he will be a starter come Friday. Though I do believe Perrinelle has to be careful. In his eight games played this year, he has drawn four yellow cards. Perrinelle is one of the most physical players on the Red Bulls, and at 6'1", 170 lbs, he must be careful how he goes after the ball. With such a presence in the air, opposing forwards are able to draw fouls simply by "flopping" around him. Damien Perrinelle must remain physical, but also be smart about the tackles and moments in which to take on a player.
Kemar Lawrence is one of my favorite signings by New York this year. He has been an absolute pleasure to watch and has been near perfect. His pace complements Chris Duvall's on the opposite side of the pitch. As he showed against NYCFC, he is not afraid to make runs down the line onto the other side of the field. Along with his speed on the ball, his strength allows him to dribble with multiple men on him as well as make some brilliant tackles. With the 90 minutes he put in against NYCFC and his overall play this season, there is no reason Jesse Marsch goes to Roy Miller over him. Though I have no problem whatsoever with Marsch starting Miller, I believe Lawrence makes for a fine and well-suited start against Dallas.
But there will be one big change: the start of twenty-two year old Canadian Karl Ouimette. Though Matt Miazga is playing in the U-20 World Cup, he is set to stay with the club through Friday. Except there's one problem: he's suspended. Remember?
Miazga's availability for this game was planned in cooperation with the US U-20s, and RBNY has caught a bit of a break: at least he will serve his suspension now, rather than when he gets back from international duty.
Nonetheless with Miazga out, options at center back have to be explored - and the options look limited.
The "should be" starter is Ronald Zubar. But he has not started a match nor been in the eighteen since week one against Sporting Kansas City due to injury. And it does not look good for him to be around for this game.
Another experienced option is Roy Miller, who can play at CB if need be. But he too is working his way back from injury.
This opens the door for more junior players on the roster: the likes of Connor Lade, Anthony Wallace, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Shawn McLaws, or Karl Ouimette (hint hint). These defenders have all, except for Jean-Baptiste and McLaws, had first team minutes on the pitch and are reliable backs.
If you're wondering what started that spiel, it was Marsch telling media today that Ouimette will start at CB in place of suspended Miazga.— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) May 14, 2015
You can watch the New York Red Bulls take on FC Dallas this Friday, May 15th at 9:00 PM on Univision Deportes, the Univision Deportes app/website, or MLS LIVE.