Leading by six and having already eliminated Alianza from the CCL, a LOT would have to go wrong for the Red Bulls to find themselves out of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
However, "a lot going wrong" is pretty much the story of the season - especially on the road - so nothing should be taken for granted in this effort to secure the club's first ever appearance in the CCL knockout rounds.
Having said that, the Red Bulls are in a very strong position against Antigua GFC. It was a simple enough task to beat the Guatemala giants at Red Bull Arena this past summer as Alex Muyl and Sacha Kljestan ran wild in the second half.
For now though, the Red Bulls merely need a win or a draw to guarantee a spot in the quarter-finals. Even a loss needs to be be by three goals or more for Antigua to even have a shot at winning the group.
With only three games left to the MLS season it might be prudent for Jesse Marsch to keep his star players well-rested and give the backups plenty of reps, to keep the team's core out of harm's way for this season's biggest games. The Red Bulls should try to treat this game as a competitive friendly, but knowing Marsch he'll go all out for this one in order to get the highest possible seed in the QFs.
Here is the New York Red Bulls predicted XI vs Antigua:
GK Ryan Meara - With only one point needed to advance to the quarter-finals, it's possible Meara will get his 2nd straight nod against Antigua
DF Justin Bilyeu
DF Aaron Long
DF Damien Perrinelle
DF Sal Zizzo
MF Sean Davis
MF Tyler Adams
MF Mike Grella - After being benched against Montreal, it's very likely Grella has been kept readt for this match-up
MF Shaun Wright-Phillips - Bradley's brother hasn't seen much (if any) action since the CCL opener against Antigua. Perhaps he'll get another start this week.
FW Gonzalo Veron - Available but unused against Montreal, Veron hopes to have another strong CCL performance as the starting forward.
Even though I am predicting a lineup of mostly backups, it wouldn't be a big shock if Marsch either starts or finishes some of his best attackers in an effort to get all three points.
What do you think?