CCL Preview: Red Bulls Need Away Goals to Advance

Matt Kremkau

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

The New York Red Bulls enter the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday night (Univision Deportes, 10 p.m. Eastern) needing a goal at BC Place to advance in the competition. Vancouver’s 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena last week puts New York in the precarious position of chasing the game, something they have shown an inability to do in the playoffs under Coach Jesse Marsch.

While New York believes it can score on the road — the Red Bulls had the second-highest goal total in league play in the regular season last year —  they are often susceptible to counterattacks.

Vancouver will also be bolstered by reinforcements, with Fredy Montero and the team’s latest acquisition Brek Shea. Montero may or may not play, but Shea should see substantial minutes after going through training camp with FC Dallas. The Red Bulls are expected to make few, if any changes and face a quick turnaround to their MLS season opener at expansion Atlanta United on Sunday.


PROJECTED STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Robles; Bilyeu, Collin, Long, Zizzo; Felipe, Davis, Kljestan, Royer; Verón, Wright-Phillips

Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted; Norinski, Waston, Parker, Harvey; Laba, Jacobson, Davies, Manneh, Teibert; Hurtado

Player to Watch: Gonzalo Verón looked strong against Vancouver, finding space in the penalty area but was unable to score in only his second game partnering with Bradley Wright-Phillips up top. Verón’s speed and technical ability make him a dangerous threat.

X-Factor: Substitutes. New York showed its hand last Wednesday, having few options at striker and holding midfielder off the bench. Derrick Etienne Jr. came on as a striker, though he is mostly a winger. In contrast, Vancouver’s depth could sway a close contest.