Somebody must have hired a DC United fan to put this schedule together because the Red Bulls are being royally screwed out of all momentum with this insane number of games over a one month stretch - and it'll only get harder if/when we keep winning.
Nonetheless, Jesse Marsch is going to need to make some serious decisions this week as to what is more important: Going all out in hopes of a revenge win over the Union in an effort to get farther in the US Open Cup? Or preserve the starters for a crucial game against a well-rested, momentum-laden New York Smurfs FC?
If Luis Robles' words from the game against Rochester Rhinos are any indication though, the Red Bulls are all-in for this tournament (or as all-in as they physically can) and are going to start as many of their top players as possible.
As a result, four or five significant changes from the starting lineup against Columbus appear to be in the cards - particularly on defense and at the No. 10 - in an effort to give RBNY the strongest team they can muster.
Here is the Predicted XI for the Red Bulls vs Philly Union:
GK Luis Robles
DF Sal Zizzo - The other defenders may be healthy, but Zizzo has performed well there this season and Jesse may want to rest some of the injured/struggling backs for the derby
DF Aurelien Collin - Back from his suspension and well-rested as a result, he'll be eager to help RBNY win his first match back.
DF Ronald Zubar
DF Connor Lade
MF Dax McCarty
MF Lloyd Sam - After getting a spot on the bench against Colombus, he'll take Kljestan's spot at the No. 10 as Jesse tinkers with the playmaking role
MF Gonzalo Veron - Alex Muyl played the whole game against Columbus, so Veron looks to get his spot.
MF Mike Grella
FW Bradley Wright-Phillips
The obvious omission was Sacha Kljestan - the lone scorer from the win over Rochester - but given the depth at midfield this seems like as good a time as any to rest the man.