The first competitive game at Red Bull Arena in 2018 will pit the New York Red Bulls against CD Olimpia in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League. They got into the game tied 1-1 with an aggregate advantage on away goals.
Despite looking like the more dominant team for most of the first game - played at a neutral site in Costa Rica for political reasons - a foul by Aurelien Collin gave Olimpia a penalty kick which led to an important goal.
Now, the Red Bulls have only two routes to guaranteeing a spot in the Quarter-Finals: a win, or a shutout.
While most of the starting XI should stay the same from last week’s game, one change that could be made is the competitive debut of Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra, who showed off his match fitness in a 57’ start against Phoenix Rising this past weekend.
If Kaku starts and plays as well against Olimpia as he did against Phoenix, the Red Bulls could be in for a big night. If not, things are going to get dicey.
Here is the Red Bulls’ predicted XI vs Olimpia:
GK Luis Robles
LB Kemar Lawrence
CB Aaron Long
CB Aurelien Collin
RB Michael Murillo
DM Tyler Adams
LW Kaku - The Red Bulls’ Young DP looked sharp against Phoenix Rising over the weekend. For $6.25 million, he’d better at least be in the stadium for this game.
AM Sean Davis
RW Daniel Royer
FW Bradley Wright-Phillips
Bench: Meara; Escobar, Lade; Rzakowski, Muyl, Etienne; Rivas
The Red Bulls have lost four straight two-leg knockout rounds between the MLS Cup Playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League. And with the Olimpia fans in the New York metro area likely to buy a lot of tickets for the game, Red Bull Arena will not feel quite like the home atmosphere they’re used to.
It will be a tough task for them to come away with a win. But if they do, the REAL challenges await, as Tijuana would be coming to town in the Quarter-Finals.