The New York Red Bulls are getting ready to make their once in two years trip to the Stub Hub Center as they are preparing to face the Los Angeles Galaxy, but this time they will be taking on one of the biggest names in all of World Football as they will take on Swedish International Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Facing the Galaxy has always been a daunting challenge for the Red Bulls, but this time it looks like the addition of Zlatan has really rejuvenated the club and after his spectacular entrance splashing two goals to tie and beat Los Angeles Football Club in the first Hollywood Derby, we know that the Red Bulls will have a tough task ahead of them.
“With Ibrahimovic you have to expect the unexpected (Talking about the 45yd shot that beat LAFC’s keeper Tyler Miller.) and it’s not just managing him for an entire ninety minute game, it’s about being ready about those flashes when he shows up and ready to do something special.“ said Jesse Marsch
“That in many ways is harder to prepare for than someone who is systematically in the game and has specific habits, Ibrahimovic is a wild card. So he’s had an incredible career, he’s incredible around the goal and we will have to identify where he is and limiting his chances.”
But it’s not just Zlatan that the Red Bulls need to game plan for, there are some old and familiar faces on the Galaxy that use to be in the East and especially playing for DC United as defensive midfielder Perry Kitchen and striker Chris Pontius are now playing for the original Hollywood club.
“Specifically Kitchen he is a competitor out there, he is a work horse, he’s a physical player and we need to match that and not get run over out there. Pontius is a successful player against us.“ said Marsch.
“He’s good in the box. If he starts or comes off the bench that we are ready for his qualities, so like I said there’s a lot to include when you see the talent of their roster and we will make sure that we stick to the game plan and turn the game into something we like.”
The new keeper for the Galaxy is former San Jose Earthquakes starter David Bingham and while he has been a solid MLS keeper and received several chances during the early part of the season for the US Men’s National Team, what are some of his qualities and possible down falls that could give the Red Bulls an advantage.
“Because David does play in the West, you don’t really see many of those games, but my first time I watched him was back in 2016 during National team camp and he had a great year before that.“ said Luis Robles.
“Last year wasn’t so great for him, but the process is to try and improve and this season he’s been tested a lot and he’s made some really big saves and he’s kept the team in the game and this will be a great game this Saturday.”
As the news of Daniel Royer earning a multi-year contract extension has gone thru the rounds, you wonder what type of mindset the club has now that this piece of business is over and done with. It could’ve lingered on towards the end of this current season, but Denis Hamlett took care of this situation very quickly.
“Danny is a great teammate, is a great guy and a great guy in the locker room. So I am happy for him, personally you look at the business side of this you see that guys have to take care of themselves.“ said Luis Robles.
“And when the financial part of this is discussed you know that you have to take care of that end of the business, because you have to look at your family first. I know the organization is pleased and he’s pleased to get that part sorted out.”
Of course the media had to remind Luis Robles about the 45 yard bomb that gave Zlatan his first league goal of his new MLS career, including his father who dropped a hit on a recent e-mail to his son.
“I got this great message from my dad this week and let me say he is 87. He’s not a fan of soccer, but he is a fan of his son playing soccer. So he pays attention a little bit.” said Robles.
“Son good luck against the LA Galaxy they have a player from Sweden and he’s really good, he’s scored three goals in three games, so be careful who he is. and I said thanks Dad.”
And the wish is to see the Red Bulls head over to California and do their best to defeat the Galaxy and get those important road points as fast as possible. They know this will not be an easy game and they are prepared for it.