Thanks to a busy summer of soccer where the two premier continents for soccer are simultaneously holding their continental tournaments - and one of them has strayed beyond its traditional boundaries and set up in a different continent entirely - Major League Soccer decided to take a mini-break.
This has led to a volatile June schedule where the Red Bulls had no games in the first 2/3 of the month then will be cramming three matches into the final third. The first of these games is Sunday night at Red Bull Arena against Seattle Sounders.
All of the Red Bulls most important players got two weeks off as none of the front six players in New York’s red and white are involved at the international level. Some first teamers were deployed for the mid-week US Open Cup game that preceded this match, but the long break should mostly leave the squad well-rested and well prepared for their return to action against Seattle. This is the first test of the team’s ability to handle a crowded schedule, so while concerns about fatigue are valid - they shouldn’t be too much to the fore just yet.
For that reason, the lineup is a staid, predictable one. It’s safe and reliable; it makes us comfortable.
Bradley Wright-Phillips is picking up his goal scoring form, scoring five goals in the Red Bulls’ last two games, quelling some minor fears derived from his performance at the beginning of the season. Similar to Wright-Phillips, Mike Grella has found his 2015 form in recent times and the defense ahead of Luis Robles has been stabilized by the timely injection of Aurelien Collin.
The Red Bulls will look to roll on against an improving Seattle side as MLS gains momentum again.