The New York Red Bulls have three points through four games. THREE. A pretty abysmal start to a season. Especially, following a Supporter's Shield win and maintaining nine of the starting XI. Ten if you include the injured Damien Perrinelle.
On the other hand, the defending US Open Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City are sitting in second place in the West with nine points. They were #1 in the MLS Power Rankings in Weeks 3 & 4 until last week's loss to Real Salt Lake. Now these two teams moving in opposite directions meet up on Saturday night. Here are who the Red Bulls will have to contain in order to protect Red Bull Arena:
Tim Melia (GK, 22 points; 2 clean sheets, 15 saves): Melia is averaging just shy of four saves per game, which isn't a bad start to the season. He has a solid defense in front of him that has only given up three goals this season. After gathering 439 minutes during 2012-2014, he became the main starter in 2015 to finish with 2070 minutes and 116 fantasy points.
Nuno Andre Coelho (DEF, 31 points; 2 clean sheets, 1 goal): Normally, Matt Besler sits at the top of this list, but due to Coelho's solid start to the season and Besler's injury, the USMNT defender isn't #1. The 30-year old defender is on his fourth team in the last six years and seems to be fitting in nicely in MLS. Coelho has played every minute so far for SKC. He leads his team with 23 recoveries, giving him some solid defensive bonus points.
Soni Mustivar (MID, 20 points; 14 tackles, 2 key passes): Mustivar might be the highest scoring midfielder... but he's listed as injured. The next best the Red Bulls will have to deal with are Jordi Quintilla and Graham Zusi (15 points each). Quintilla is getting his first taste of MLS action and Zusi is just coming off saving the USMNT's butt against Guatemala.
Dom Dwyer (FWD, 24 points; 2 goals, 1 assist): Dwyer has scored 34 goals since the start of 2014. That is not a good sign for a depleted RBNY back line. He is a very aggressive attacker, shown by the 10 times he has been fouled this season. The Red Bulls are going to have to hope he doesn't get free runs through their defense and have to match his strength on set pieces.
The two teams are set to meet Saturday night in cold & windy Harrison.