The first CONCACAF Champions League match of the Marsch-Curtis era is about to begin. With the team so beaten up and in many ways demoralized after a frustrating draw against the Chicago Fire, one would hope that the Red Bulls would be hungry for any kind of win to get them back on track. There is a difficult August MLS schedule coming up, and momentum will be important. Standing in the way of that goal will be Guatemala's Antigua GFC.
In the eyes of the bookmakers this game should be a laugher favoring the Red Bulls, but that would also be assume that Jesse Marsch chooses to play his best team. Given that the team is banged up after a very physical game with Chicago, we should expect that at least some of the starters (particularly Luis Robles) will be benched in this one.
Antigua GFC are a small team with a limited talent pool, but they have a lot to prove and will be trying to make waves in the Champions League. It would be a mistake for Jesse Marsch to take Antigua or future-foe Alianza lightly.
Here is the New York Red Bulls predicted XI vs Antigua:
GK Ryan Meara - After an injury scare to Luis Robles on Wednesday, the MLS Iron Man will likely be getting some rest. Given that Meara was not featured on the gameday roster for Tuesday against the City Islanders, it's safe to say he's likely to get a start.
DF Chris Duvall
DF Damien Perrinelle
DF Kemar Lawrence - Finally back to fitness, Lawrence will make his first appearance for the Red Bulls since his Copa America injury.
DF Sal Zizzo
MF Tyler Adams - The Red Bulls wonderkid looks ready for serious action after impressing last week for Landon Donovan.
MF Derrick Etienne - Much like Adams, Etienne is coming off an appearance in the MLS Homegrown game and could be penciled in for the game.
FW Alex Muyl
FW Gonzalo Veron
This roster obviously excludes many significant Red Bulls players who are likely going to be rested or at least given only a few minutes in this game. It would be nice to see Jesse Marsch play his A-team at some point to show how much he wants it and to bring the Champions League title to the United States for once, but the priority right now is the MLS Cup.