The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final is only a few short days away, but before the Red Bulls hop on a plane to Missouri for their big showdown with Sporting Kansas City, they have to contend with the Philadelphia Union in a must-win home game.
So far this season the team's performance against the Union has been a mixed bag: They lost on a CJ Sapong hat-trick, won the rematch on a Bradley Wright-Phillips brace, then settled for a home draw in the rubber match during the Open Cup Round of 16 before advancing on penalty kicks.
Despite their location on the Eastern Conference table, Union head coach Jim Curtin has stated he has no intentions of playing the youngsters and mailing in the season. Which means the Red Bulls will still have to contend with the likes of Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake, CJ Sapong, Chris Pontius and Ilsinho.
Here is the RBNY predicted XI vs Philadelphia:
GK Luis Robles: Who Marsch starts Sunday is a no brainer. Who he starts Wednesday will be the decision that could ultimately define his tenure as manager.
DF Connor Lade - Aaron Long - Fidel Escobar: If Michael Murillo is still at all sore from last week's ankle injury then there's no point risking his health on Sunday before the much bigger match on Wednesday.
WB Kemar Lawrence - Tyler Adams: Taxi has not adapted to his role as a wingback as quickly as we might like, but he's got to get a spot somewhere.
DM Felipe: You just know Felipe will start every game he's healthy for this week.
AM Sean Davis - Sacha Kljestan - Alex Muyl: Could Daniel Royer, Dilly Duka or Muhamed Keita get a surprise start?
FW Bradley Wright-Phillips: There is a chance that Gonzalo Veron gets the nod in an effort to keep BWP healthy for the Open Cup, but most likely we'll simply see the RBNY goal king on a tight minute count instead.
The Red Bulls have a game in hand over most of the teams below them in the Eastern Conference table, but given how rough the schedule is the rest of the way, RBNY can't afford to let any team take points away from them at home.