As the U.S. Open Cup Final draws ever closer, the Red Bulls still have major obstacles in their path that could very well be deciding factors in whether they can compete for that other American soccer Cup.
This week the Red Bulls take on the Chicago Fire, who have been juggernauts at home this season. With an absolutely loaded roster that includes Nemanja Nikolic, Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Accam, the Red Bulls will be hard-pressed to muster a point from this match.
One thing that's for sure is that the stagnant attacking midfield will have at least one new face for this game, as Sean Davis is set to miss the match on a suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
Here is the RBNY predicted XI at the Chicago Fire:
GK Luis Robles
DF Aaron Long
DF Michael Murillo - Hopefully Murillo and Escobar got back from their match in Panama quickly enough to be match-ready for the Fire.
DF Fidel Escobar - See above.
WB Kemar Lawrence - It was an unnecessary risk for Lawrence to join up with the Jamaica national team for a simple friendly - not to mention the fact that the team really could've used him against FC Dallas...
WB Tyler Adams
AM Muhamed Keita - With Sean Davis unavailable for this one it's as good a time as any for Jesse Marsch to kick the tires with Keita a starter.
AM Sacha Kljestan
AM Alex Muyl
FW Bradley Wright-Phillips
It has been a long time since Jesse Marsch started someone up top besides Davis, Alex Muyl or Daniel Royer. With Muyl a head-scratching lock in his spot and Royer still too injured to start, we can probably expect someone like Derrick Etienne Jr or even Muhamed Keita to get a start up top.
Then again, Marsch has shown a willingness to move defenders into attacking roles. Perhaps that will open the door for Kemar Lawrence, Sal Zizzo, Fidel Escobar or Michael Murillo to try out a new position.
What do you think?