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RBNY predicted XI: vs Portland Timbers, 2018 MLS Season, 03/10/18

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It may be the MLS season opener, but the Red Bulls are likely to treat this game as a tune-up for the much more important game against Tijuana on Tuesday.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Portland Timbers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

And so begins the 23rd season of Red Bulls/MetroStars history. It was one helluva ride getting here: the Kljestan trade, #KakuWatch, the CD Olimpia and Tijuana matches - but we’re finally here and ready to start the season.

Coming off a stunning 2-0 upset of Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Red Bulls begin their MLS campaign at home, and will undoubtedly feel confident as the Portland Timbers under ex-MetroStar Giovanni Savarese come to town.

Despite losing their opening game against LA Galaxy, Portland still boast several star attackers, including reigning MLS MVP Diego Valeri, and strikers Sebastian Blanco and Fanendo Adi. Beating this Timbers team will likely require a defensive effort similar to what we’ve seen in the CCL.

Here is the RBNY predicted XI vs Portland:

GK Luis Robles

LB Kemar Lawrence

CB Aaron Long

CB Aurelien Collin

RB Michael Murillo

DM Florian Valot - After a strong showing as a substitute against Tijuana, Valot deserves to make his first MLS start while Marc Rzakowski rests.

DM Tyler Adams

LW Alex Muyl - It’s the perfect opportunity for Kaku’s first start! Which means Muyl probably starts instead...

AM Sean Davis

RW Daniel Royer

FW Carlos Rivas - Bradley Wright-Phillips is probably going to be rested for this one given the quick turnaround to the next game.

Bench: Meara; Escobar, Lade, Parker; Etienne Jr., Gamarra; Wright-Phillips

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The Red Bulls have become notorious for their slow starts, and an impending showdown with Tijuana at Red Bull Arena will probably cause Jesse Marsch to rest some extra players, even if it is the home opener.

It will be interesting to see which players on the Red Bulls best XI Jesse Marsch decides to play three times in seven days