Is there any team in MLS better than the New York Red Bulls right now?
While fans of one team might contest that declaration (I'm looking at you, LA Galaxy), the Red Bulls are arguably the best team in the league right now. Riding the league's longest unbeaten streak at the moment (6), RBNY made their case last week against Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto F.C in an emphatic 3-0 win. With this kind of momentum, it's going to take something special to slow down Jesse Marsch's side.
As usual, let's take a look at the likely lineup changes for the fixture.
Kemar Lawrence, who is nursing an injured hamstring, will miss the Chicago match, making this the second game in a row that the Jamaican international has had to sit out. In his place will Anthony Wallace, who scored against Toronto last week.
Damien Perrinelle is also making his return from suspension, meaning that Karl Ouimette will likely sit on the bench. Ronald Zubar is set to make his return soon, with Brian Lewis of the New York Post reporting that the French center back is almost fit for matches.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Marsch said Ronald Zubar is almost 100 percent fit after his string of health woes, the latest a hamstring injury. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RBNY?src=hash">#RBNY</a></p>— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPost_Lewis/status/634418374139871232">August 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Depth in the back could prove crucial for the Red Bulls as they near the home stretch of the season. With 11 games to go, the Red Bulls are very much in the hunt for the Supporters' Shield. With only 7 points separating them from Los Angeles at the top of the standings, the Red Bulls still have 4 games in hand to make up the difference.
Chicago, on the other hand, are at the other end of the table. Currently languishing at the bottom of the standings, Frank Yallop's men have had little to celebrate this season. Second to last in goal scoring with 27, it's been a dismal season for the Fire.
Nonetheless, Toyota Park has been something of fortress for them when it comes to the Red Bulls. Having never won at Toyota Park, the Red Bulls' last away win against Chicago was a decade ago, in May of 2005.
Players to Watch
Gonzalo Veron has only played a handful of minutes, but he's already shown skill, speed, and creativity. In just 13 minutes, Veron created two goal scoring opportunities, finishing one of them himself. This could be the week that he finally breaks into the starting lineup.
"My ideal position is playing a central attacking midfield role or on the wings with two forwards"
As for Chicago, their new DP is going to have his work cut out for him. Gilberto joined the Fire earlier this month and Yallop is banking on him to be the solution to their offensive woes. He already showed flashes of it in their last match against Colorado, striking the post late in the match.
Although their history at Toyota Park goes against them, the Red Bulls should be able to claim an easy win. With their new additions fitting in seamlessly and their midfield being one of the most consistent units in MLS, RBNY should have no problem dispatching an inconsistent Chicago side that has struggled to score. Score: 2-0, Red Bulls.