The New York Red Bulls take their 10 game unbeaten streak (in all competitions) into Sunday's matchup with D.C. United. I caught up with Ryan Keefer at Black & Red United for the second time in three weeks to find out why those pesky raccoons just won't get off our doorstep:
Once a Metro: The only way for RBNY to level the Atlantic Cup is with a victory at home against DC. What does DC need to do to stop that from happening?
Black & Red United: Can they re-route Sacha Kljestan's train ticket? How about Bradley Wright-Phillips? No? Damn.
It's not an altogether ludicrous proposition I would imagine. D.C. might, just might, have an advantage on the wings with Patrick Nyarko and Lloyd Sam, but the problem is that the person who could bridge those two guys is Luciano Acosta, and he'll be out to an accumulation suspension. D.C. could try to clog the middle with Marcelo Sarvas playing further upfield compared to the deeper support of the center backs that you saw him in three weeks ago, but the question remains who plays with him, either a Generation Adidas rookie (Julian Buescher) or a veteran (Nick DeLeon) who has underachieved in production. With Sarvas and whomever plays the CDM role (likely Rob Vincent), one would imagine the Black-and-Red try to muck up the middle.
OaM: Since last playing the Red Bulls three weeks ago, DC drew a tough Montreal team on the road 1-1, wiped the floor with Chicago 6-2, then had a maddening late-goal loss to NYCFC 3-2. Which team can we expect to see on Sunday?
B&RU: Acosta, Nyarko, Sam and Patrick Mullins have been clicking offensively the last six weeks and the production, at least by recent D.C. standards, is fairly impressive. Nearly as impressive is their having been in control of games at Montreal and NYCFC, both times with less than ideal starting XIs. For example if you'd told me Buescher, Vincent and Luke Mishu (with maybe six MLS starts combined) would play a full strength Montreal team and do well for 70 minutes or so, I'd have told you you're crazy. Those types of things are things we're experiencing for the first time and it's kind of weird. They hadn't scored more than two road goals in a game for 18 months until last Thursday; they haven't scored at Red Bull Arena since the beginning of 2014. So maybe they break that streak too?
OaM: Both teams had players and fans affected by the tragedies in their cities 15 years ago. What does it mean for the fanbase to play RBNY on September 11th?
B&RU: There's definitely a bit of poetry to that fixture. I don't think scores of people will admit to it, but there is a camaraderie of sorts between the two fanbases in the unique way that tragedy or remembrance can bring pockets of both clubs together. It's happened for me, and I think it's happened for other people on both sides of this.
Once the whistle blows though, you guys suck again of course. :)
Injuries/Omissions: Luciano Acosta (suspension), Jared Jeffrey, Chris Rolfe (concussion), Chris Korb (ACL)
Predicted Starting XI: Bill Hamid; Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp; Rob Vincent; Lloyd Sam, Marcelo Sarvas, Julian Buescher, Patrick Nyarko; Patrick Mullins
Predicted scoreline: 2-1 NYRB (Editor's note: he's giving us the win, so I'll let "NYRB" slide this time)
You can see OaM's responses to B&RU's questions here. See you at the game! #HateDCWeek