Preview: New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution

IMAGE, NEW YORK RED BULLS FACEBOOK

By MARK FISHKIN
Staff Writer

After playing a strong opening fifteen minutes at Salt Lake, New York conceded on a messy sequence and a seeing-eye goal by Joao Plata

To Red Bulls’ credit, the team weathered the storm and equalized on a stellar effort by Thierry Henry that was a result of a super build-up by Oyongo, Wright-Phillips, and Cahill. Now, a rejuvenated Revolution squad comes into Harrison, buoyed by breaking an eight-match losing streak. 

With the two clubs a point apart in the standings and New York outside the playoff zone, Saturday has the making of an important match as the stretch run to the playoffs begins in earnest.

Match Information:
Saturday, August 2nd at Red Bull Arena, 7:00p ET kickoff, TV: MSG

Referee: Allen Chapman

Record, GF/GA, Division and League Position, Recent Form:
New York, 25 points from 21 matches, 33 GF/32 GA, 6th in the East, 13th in MLS, DWLDD
New England, 26 points from 21 matches, 28 GF/33 GA, t3rd in the East, t10th in MLS, LLLLW

New England’s front line vs. the Red Bulls defense:
Charlie Davies vs. Roy Miller, Matt Miazga, Ibrahim Sekagya, and Chris Duvall (and Luis Robles).
Davies has started two of New England’s last three matches.  His personal story need not be repeated here, but the one-time USMNT star has only a pair of goals to his credit in his last thirty-five appearances in MLS since 2011.  Rookie Patrick Mullins relieved Davies in the victory over Colorado.  The two-time Hermann award-winner out of Maryland hasn’t scored since May 24th, a nine-match drought.  Roy Miller’s return to the lineup Wednesday not only created wonderful overlaps with Oyongo at left mid, but also held RSL to a single successful cross from his side of the field.  Olave’s “how-do-you-do” to Olmes Garcia means he is out of this one. Look for Ibrahim Sekagya, who’s looked quite capable of late, to partner with Matt Miazga. It’s no surprise that much of the Red Bulls’ attack went through the left side on Wednesday given the lack of history between Duvall and Alexander, but with Sam back from suspension, look for those two to create chances once again. At RSL, Duvall repeatedly gave Joao Plata too much time and space on the ball. Thankfully, New England doesn’t have a similarly dangerous scorer. Robles wasn’t at fault on Wednesday’s RSL goal.  
Advantage: New York

New York’s attackers vs. the Revolution defense:
Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Philips vs. Kevin Alston, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, and Andrew Farrell (and Bobby Shuttleworth).
Henry sees the game on a different level than the majority of MLS players.  His accuracy on Wednesday’s goal was incredible.  Wright-Phillips had his goal-scoring streak snapped at five matches (six goals scored) but delivered the ball to Cahill that led to Henry’s goal.  BWP was held without a shot in Salt Lake.  Posting a shutout against Colorado after conceding nineteen goals in eight matches would lift any side, and New England will hope to build on their mid-week defensive performance on Saturday. The Revolution haven’t shut out New York since a scoreless draw in the 2007 playoffs.  Plenty on the Revs’ backline have figured on the scoresheet this season, led by Soares (2G/1A) and Alston (1G/1A).  Andrew Farrell, the top pick in the 2013 SuperDraft, is maturing into a decent pro.  Before the Revs’ swoon, there was consternation by Revs fans over Farrell’s exclusion from Jurgen Klinsmann’s player pool.  The Louisville product has four years to develop and catch Klinsi’s attention. More shutouts will help.
Advantage: New York

The Midfields:

Ambroise Oyongo, Tim Cahill, Dax McCarty and Lloyd Sam vs. Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe and Teal Bunbury.
Oyongo continues to be everywhere for the Red Bulls.  On Wednesday, the newcomer linked deftly with Miller, ran at defenders, started the play that led to Henry’s goal, and cleared a ball off New York’s goal line.  Tim Cahill was also everywhere for New York in Salt Lake, but not in a good way. Cahill at times was playing behind d-mid Dax McCarty, and left the Red Bulls scrambling to find a cohesive shape in the first half.  Once again, Cahill went without a shot at goal. He’s on a 214-minute streak without a shot, and while his layoff to Henry was sublime, Cahill needs to get himself into positions to take shots for the Red Bulls to put opponents away. Sam will be a welcome return to the lineup, and will give New York speed down both flanks.  McCarty’s role will be to shut down the dangerous Lee Nguyen, who not only loves to shoot from distance, but had a career night against Colorado, with two goals and an assist. Pickup Bunbury from Kansas City (2G/3A) hasn’t collected a goal or an assist since May 17th. Fagundez’s (4G/3A) drought goes back to May 24th. Caldwell has started in a center defensive mid role in the Revs’ last three matches.  New England conceded four goals in those matches.  Rowe had his first goal since last September against the Rapids.  
Advantage: New York

The Coaches:

Mike Petke noted that while he’s not happy with the amount of draws the team has collected, he was happy to get a point at Salt Lake, and he’s absolutely right.  The Red Bulls’ coach again said that his team was “tired,” but given New York’s Fall schedule, Petke better figure out how to get his team lots of rest.  That Jay Heaps still has his job considering his club’s eight-match losing streak illustrates the Revolution’s absent management.  Yes, Heaps had steered his club to five straight wins before the dip, but scoring only four times in eight matches while conceding nineteen should be reason enough for any club to jettison their coach.  Now that the Revs have broken their nosedive, can Heaps get his team believing again?
Advantage: Even

Intangibles:

After grabbing a point in Salt Lake for the first time in six years, New York will try to extend its dominance over New England at home. The Red Bulls haven’t lost to the Revs in New Jersey since July 2007, going 5-0-6 during that span. New England hasn’t posted back-to-back shutouts since June 2nd and 8th of 2013. The Red Bulls haven’t been shutout in nine league matches (0-2 in Toronto on May 17th).   Despite the Rally Towel giveaway, there appears to be plenty of seats available on the Red Bulls’ websit, and weather may be a big reason why.  Tomorrow’s forecast is for a steady rain and thunderstorms in the morning, but mostly cloudy skies and a kickoff temperature around seventy degrees at kickoff.  
Advantage: New York

Prediction:

The return of Sam to the lineup will do wonders for the Red Bulls’ attack against New England, and getting off to a strong start and getting the first goal will be crucial for New York.  In order to succeed, Sam and Oyongo must help create opportunities like Wednesday’s; quick movements, passing the ball on the ground, and finding Henry and BWP in the middle of the final third. That way, aerial crosses will be more of a novelty, and could be more effective. New England, having finally broken their dismal run, may play with less urgency than Wednesday. Still, the Revs will be hoping to create a new streak of their own.  If McCarty can manage Nguyen, New York will win. I think Dax will deliver.
New York wins, 2-1.

  • Good call on the prediction! Great game last night! This team finally looked like a team with some aspirations.