Well, here it is: The most important game of the New York Red Bulls 2017 campaign - a full four days before their first MLS game!
After being held to a draw, 1-1, at Red Bull Arena on February 22, the Red Bulls head to BC Place in the rainy city of Vancouver for the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
A win or multiple-goal draw in regulation would see the Red Bulls through to the semifinals, while a 1-1 draw would send it to extra time. However, a loss or a scoreless draw will send the Red Bulls to Atlanta with no more international competitions on their schedule until next year's CCL tournament.
Luckily, with an extra week's practice under their belts, the Red Bulls should be heading to Canada with a healthy Kemar Lawrence and Mike Grella, as well as a better-prepared Amir Murillo - all of whom could very well play big roles in the game against the Whitecaps.
However, the Vancouver team that the Red Bulls face on Thursday night will also be a bit different from the one that played last Wednesday. Mere days after the draw at Red Bull Arena, the Whitecaps swung a deal with Orlando City to bring in veteran winger Brek Shea and augment their attack.
Vancouver will also likely have the services of dangerous forward Fredy Montero, formerly a star for Seattle Sounders, now landed back in MLS after a move to Sporting CP in 2014 followed by a 2016 transfer to Tianjin TEDA.
Assuming Shea has gotten settled in quickly enough, the former US international will almost certainly take over the lineup spot of top CCL scorer Cristian Techera, who earned a red card and suspension for kicking Red Bulls RB Sal Zizzo in a place that shouldn't be kicked.
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Shea could very well be an upgrade in an already talented cast of players that includes Kekutah Manneh, wonderkid Alphonso Davies, Erik Hurtado and Fredy Montero.
Here is the RBNY predicted XI vs Vancouver:
Kemar Lawrence - The most likely lineup change for this one would be to put a healthy Kemar Lawrence in the squad.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Justin Bilyeu, Damien Perrinelle, Murillo, Derrick Etienne Jr, Alex Muyl, Mike Grella
Last year Vancouver proved to be at their absolute best at BC Place, getting 10 of their 14 victories across all competitions while losing just five times in 21 games played within its walls.
Given that BC place has proven to be a fortress for Vancouver - at least in games where they host the Red Bulls - there will be no room for error if the team wants to stay alive in this tournament they've fought so hard to get into.