This is the game New York Red Bulls fans have been dreading, as RBNY heads to CenturyLink Field to play against the MLS powerhouse Seattle Sounders. But despite all the obstacles New York faces tonight, I still wouldn't count them out, as the Bulls have a habit of playing well as the underdogs. Even with Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins both on the injury list for Seattle, I see them both in the Starting XI. According to reports from around SB Nation, Martins suffered a broken nose (Tibial Contusion) against the Colorado Rapids but is still expected to play. As for Clint Dempsey, he also started against the Rapids on Wednesday, yet is listed as having a hamstring injury. My opinion: Deuce will be alongside Martins to start the match.
Between the two clubs, there are 13 players on the injury reports. Though it is almost impossible to predict who Jesse Marsch will start on his backline. Last week against the Philadelphia Union, Damien Perrinelle was a sure starter at CB before reports of him sitting at training the day were released an hour before the match. Marsch went to an injured Roy Miller as a replacement and Perrinelle didn't appear in the 18 man roster.
Here's how I see the New York Red Bulls coming out tonight:
Quite a change to say the least, let's break it down.
First and foremost, you'll notice an unchanged lineup from Bradley Wright-Phillips down through the midfield. The always consistent Lloyd Sam and company make up the attacking midfield with Dane Richards, Sean Davis, and Marius Obekop representing all of New York's offensive depth on the bench.
Quick note: As I have repeated time and time again, Dane Richards, in my opinion, was one the best signings for New York this season. He not only adds depth to the bench with the ability to come on late and add pace to a game, but serves as a well needed super sub replacement given Peguy Luyindula's awaited retirement.
I would like to see New York replace Mike Grella in the starting lineup for at least one game. Personally, I would enjoy seeing Anatole Abang get a chance to begin a match and see how his pairing with Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips plays out. This, of course, will not happen this week, but if you cannot contain your excitement for this brilliant idea from yours truly, I may have experimented with it in this week's edition of Let's Play FIFA.
Looking at the backline, this is where problems arise for New York. As stated above, Damien Perrinelle did not appear in the lineup last week against the Union. So I don't see him appearing in tonight's Starting XI.
His replacement: Roy Miller. Though Miller is listed as a "doubtful" player on the injury report (and in the heads of many fans), I suspect he will be able to play through a knee sprain. Miller is a true left back, but he is able to comfortably fill in as a center back and maintain his own.
Personally, I would enjoy seeing Andrew Jean-Baptiste come off the bench and play. However, I do not expect Marsch to allow AJB a full 90 minutes just yet, as he has not made a single first team appearance for the club. It would be nice seeing his name on a lineup sheet for the Red Bulls. Tonight is not that match.
Source: Yahoo Sports
Paired with Roy Miller, is Karl Ouimette. Ouimette has made four appearances and three starts. He has been quite a reliable replacement for fellow youngster Matt Miazga and has gotten the job done. Will he be playing as LCB or RCB?
Chris Duvall remains on the right and at left back is Kem-... nope. I wanted to this week's lineup prediction to have a bit of a curveball in it. Let's be honest, New York has been in a small slump this past couple of weeks. Seattle is one of the best teams in all of the MLS. Kemar Lawrence came out in the 30th minute last week with an injury. Why rush his return? In my opinion, it would be beneficial for New York to give Lawrence more time to recover and ensure he is 100% for June 5th's match against the Houston Dynamo.
This leaves us with a number of options. Do we see Connor Lade fill in at left back next to Roy Miller? Do we see NYRB II's captain Anthony Wallace make an appearance? Does Roy Miller start? Or does Marsch start Lawrence despite a left hamstring injury? The most appealing option (to me) is Anthony Wallace.
The score prediction for this match is a toss up for me, as I could see New York scoring on a counter and leaving with three points or the Sounders coming away with 3-0 win. My prediction: Seattle gains 3 points at home with a 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls.
You can watch tonight's game at 5:00 PM EST on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN2, as well as MLS LIVE.