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Match Preview: New York Red Bulls vs Colorado Rapids, MLS 2017, Week 2

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RBNY's MLS 2017 home-opener brings the team's first (and likely only) meeting with Colorado this season.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Frigid weather awaits the New York Red Bulls in their 2017 MLS home opener against the Colorado Rapids.

The Red Bulls opened their season on the road last week with a win over expansion side Atlanta United, 2-1. Goals from Daniel Royer and Anton Walkes (Own Goal) during the last 15 minutes of the game were enough to cancel out Yamil Asad’s early goal.

Last season, the Red Bulls turned Red Bull Arena into a fortress winning 13 of their 17 home games, after dropping their home opener to Toronto FC 2-0 in front of a crowd of 21,303. TicketIQ.com tracks the secondary market for tickets and advises mid-week demand for tickets to this year's home opener was down from last year: as of Thursday, March 9, there were about 6,000 tickets still available for RBNY's first MLS home game of the season - about double the amount available in the same time frame last year.

In the Rapids' 2017 opener, they defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 with a Dominique Badji goal.

Colorado had one the best defenses in the league last season, allowing 32 goals which was seven less goals then the next closest team. That strong defensive formation appears to still be intact as they held the Rev’s scoreless in Week 1. Defense is crucial to the Rapids' success: they were also the lowest scoring team in the league last season, despite finishing second in the Western Conference.

When the two teams last met in April 2016the Western Conference side emerged victorious, 2-1. On that day Jermaine Jones and Badji scored for the Rapids while Ronald Zubar got on the score sheet for New York.

The Rapids have not changed much from last season. Midfielder Bismark Adjei-Boateng was their only major signing. Adjei-Boateng was brought into replace the hole that Jones left in the Rapids midfield.

Despite being early in the season injuries have plagued both teams. Colorado may be without stars Shkëlzen Gashi and Tim Howard. Gashi has been training this week and is expected to make an appearance after missing the match against the Rev’s with some inflammation in his Achilles. Howard suffered a season-ending groin injury last year, and has not played a game since. Howard will be honored this weekend by the Red Bulls for his time at the club as a MetroStar.

The Red Bulls will be without Gonzalo Veron. The Designated player who has struggled with injuries throughout his career in New York went down during the Red Bulls CONCACAF Champions League series against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

RBNY and the Rapids kick off at 4:00 pm, Eastern, on Saturday, March 11 at Red Bull Arena. The game will be televised on UniMas.

New York will return to action next week when they travel west to take on the Seattle Sounders.