The New York Red Bulls are getting big time performances from a variety of sources. A fourth straight match unbeaten now sees the team in fifth place with an ever improving goal differential.
Their latest win at Nippert Stadium against FC Cincinnati was another hard fought match that required Chris Armas’ masterclass of substitutions. All three players that Armas subbed on in the second half had a hand in a goal, showing for the second time in a week that he is evolving and understanding his players more and more.
A beautifly slotted finish by Kaku started the scoring for the Red Bulls as the Paraguayan got a much needed end product after his recent surge in form. Kaku did not make the 23 man roster for Paraguay’s Gold Cup roster, so the Red Bulls will be happy to see him get a rest.
A diving header from Amir Fernandez in the 90th minute killed off the match as new found leader Brian White grabbed himself an assist. White leads the team with three goals on the season and has been putting in continued performances for the team when called upon.
Fernandez was also a spark coming on in the 79th minute for Andreas Ivan. The energetic midfielder got the attacking freedom he craves and the goal only further proves how valuable he can be to the Red Bulls offense.
Kemar Lawrence also had another fantastic match. Fotmob gave him man of the match as the Jamaican registered 40 completed passes, 7 recoveries, 2 interceptions, and four aerial duels won. The past two matches alone have been a showcase for Lawrence’s importance to this team and his overall skill as a player.
Forward Sam Johnson notched his fifth goal of the season in the loss, which have all come in the last seven matches. After joining the club from Norwegian team Valerenga in February, Johnson has found his form in recent weeks and looks to be a real threat up top for the club.
Young Slovakian Albert Rusnak also continues to be a leader for his team. The midfielder also has five goals on the season with two assists to his name as well. His form for club and country has been immaculate for quite some time now, and Armas will need to limit his time on the ball as much as possible.
Unfortunately for Real Salt Lake, Rusnak was subbed out in the 56th minute against the Impact due to a hamstring injury. This would be a massive blow on the team to be without Rusnak, as they rely on him so heavily to pull the strings for the team.
The loss did come in a midweek match, so Real will also be on short rest for this match at Red Bull Arena. The team has also struggled quite heavily on the road this season, beating just two of their eight away matches this season.
A clash in formations is sure to make for an exciting night. The 4231 that both clubs love to play will test the creativity of the central playmakers on both sides. Kaku vs. Rusnak, should he play, is a matchup that could ultimately decide the outcome of this one.
Veteran Kyle Beckerman is also doubtful with a hamstring injury of his own, while the Red Bulls are hoping that both Daniel Royer and Aaron Long will be fit as the pair missed last match with injuries.
June is a jam packed month for the Red Bulls, filled with tough matches and key rivalries. Starting off against a mid table, western conference opponent will not exactly get the blood flowing, but a win certainly would. Three points would also put the team in a tie for third, which seemed miles away just a few short weeks ago.
With fireworks on display following the match, the Red Bulls will be hoping to create a spectacle well before 90 minutes are up. Getting back to their early first half goals will be big for this match, as getting on top early will force Real to open up as the Red Bulls look to expose them defensively.
Supporters are always happy to see Mike Petke return as well, but they will be hoping for a much more positive result compared to last season against the former coach.