After almost three soccerless months, the New York Red Bulls are back to the business they do best - and not a moment too soon, because the club's efforts to keep fans entertained in the off-season have thus far cost captain Dax McCarty his place in the squad and caused sporting director Ali Curtis to disappear entirely. It's generally safer to support RBNY when there is soccer being played; once Red Bull Arena goes dark for a while, the team starts to behave a little strangely.
So for 90 minutes, at least, we can pause concerns about Curtis and mourning Dax's departure to watch some RBNY soccer. It won't really be a match - head coach Jesse Marsch has already stated the game will be divided into three 30-minute periods - but it will be a chance to return attention to the team's on-field activities rather than its increasingly puzzling off-field antics. (Or maybe RBNY will take a moment to provide an update on Ali Curtis before the game kicks off, and that's all we'll be able to think about regardless of what happens on the field in Arizona.)
Regarding the game: the opponent will be Portland Timbers, also preseasoning in Tucson. The Timbers' greatest contribution to this match-up might be the club's intention to stream the event on its own website - for which we say: thanks, Portland! (RBNY has subsequently followed suit.)
It is also Luis Robles Night in Tucson. Well, the game's host - FC Tucson - is honoring several members of the local soccer community before the match, but few will be as worthily remembered as Robles: he played youth soccer for the Tucson Soccer Academy, went to the University of Portland, and is a New York Red Bulls standout and legend. He's also currently in the US Men's National Team January training camp, so he won't be at the game - but he made a nice video to say thank you for being included among those honored at Tucson Legends of Soccer Night.
It's a first chance to see what RBNY is cooking for 2017, and it's happening at 8:30 pm, Eastern on your local internet connection.