Preview: New York Red Bulls v San Jose Earthquakes

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by MARK FISHKIN
Staff Writer

After three of the club’s first four matches away from Red Bull Arena, undefeated New York settles in for three straight home games over the next twelve days, all against Western Conference opponents.

The Red Bulls are tracking with Jesse Marsch’s vision, getting injured players back in the starting lineup, and looking to get back to the top of the MLS East on Friday night against recent thorn San Jose.  The Earthquakes generate memories of the infamous Roy Miller meltdown, as well as a painful home playoff loss in 2010.

Are these Red Bulls up to the challenge?


Match Information:

Friday, April 17th at Red Bull Arena. 7:00p ET kickoff, TV/Streaming: UniMas/UniDeportes App

Referee: Jair Marrufo

2015 Record, GF/GA, Division and League Position, Recent Form

New York, 8 points from 4 matches, 7GF/4GA, t2nd in the East, t7th in MLS, DWWD
San Jose, 9 points from 6 matches, 7GF/7GA, t3rd in the West, t4th in MLS, WWLLW


New York’s front line vs. the Quakes’ defense:
Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Cordell Cato, Clarence Goodson, Victor Bernardez, and Marvel Wynne (and David Bingham).

Last week in DC, Wright-Phillips matched his early-season high with four total shots, and put three on Bill Hamid’s frame.  However, DC did stop BWP from picking up points in his third straight game. The Quakes shut out March MLS frontrunner Vancouver last week at Avaya Stadium, but has allowed a little more than a goal per contest in 2015.  Trinidadian Cato has been only a part-time starter with San Jose since joining in 2013.  The 6’ 4” Goodson has played every minute of the Quakes’ last four matches. Honduran international Bernardez has just logged his 80th appearance for San Jose, and former Red Bulls number one draft pick Wynne is settling in with his fifth MLS team.   Bingham is finally the number one keeper for the Quakes after Jon Busch departure to Chicago in the off-season.  His first MLS shutout was last week against the Whitecaps.

Advantage: New York


San Jose’s attackers vs. the Red Bulls’ defense:
Shea Salinas, Innocent, and Sanna Nyassi vs. Kemar Lawrence, Damien Perrinelle, Ronald Zubar, and Chris Duvall (and Luis Robles).

Dom Kinnear, in his second stint with the Quakes, prefers a 4-3-3 lineup.  With Adam Jahn suspended after an 88th minute red card last week, Nigerian DP Innocent returns to the lineup after sitting out a suspension of his own.  Innocent turned heads around the league with his maze-y run and goal at Seattle on March 14th. Nyassi bagged the winner against Vancouver last week, and while Salinas has yet to score this season, the wing player has delivered 23 assists over his last three seasons in San Jose.  New York finally gets veteran Ronald Zubar back into the lineup after missing three matches with a hamstring injury. Marsch has a decision to make, slotting the Frenchman into either young Matt Miazga’s spot, or fellow countryman Perrinelle, who scored his first MLS goal last week in DC.  Although “DP” missed a practice session this week with a sore foot, I think it’s Miazga that will sit on Friday.  Marsch has said that there will opportunities for all players to get minutes given the busy two weeks to come.  Roy Miller is nearing match fitness, but Kemar Lawrence should start once again on the left, and Duvall on the right.  Robles continues to roll on, with yet another MLS Save of the Week nomination for a super stop of Chris Rolfe at RFK last Saturday.

Advantage: Even


 

The Midfields:
Sal Zizzo, Felipe, Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, and Lloyd Sam vs. Chris Wondolowski, Fatai Alashe, and Matias Perez Garcia.

The Red Bulls’ midfield is creating quality scoring opportunities. Felipe picked up his second assist of the season on the corner that Perrinelle headed in for New York’s first goal at DC, and Kljestan’s injury-time free kick allowed New York to grab a point on the road. Four matches into the season, Lloyd Sam is a surprise at the top of the Red Bulls goal-scoring chart at three.  I think Marsch’s left side platoon will continue with Zizzo getting the start over Grella on Friday.  Wondo was called into Jurgen Klinsmann’s victorious squad for Mexico on Wednesday but didn’t see the field. Fatai Alashe is a star in the making.  The Quakes’ first-round draft pick out of Michigan State scored the first Quakes goal in Ayava Stadium history, then scored for the US U23s in a win over Bosnia & Herzegovina, all in the same week.  The rookie could play a role in Olympics qualifying and beyond.  DP Garcia has yet to record a point this season, but has started each Quakes match in 2015.

Slight Advantage: New York


 

The Coaches:

As Luis Robles said on this week’s Seeing Red, Jesse Marsch has his team believing in each other.  Coming back from two goals down on the road is a major challenge, but the Red Bulls didn’t quit, and have the point to prove it. Dom Kinnear is back where he wants to be in Northern California, and he has his team surprising many with a quick start.  Kinnear is a four-time MLS Cup winner as a coach, and with the Quakes first ever-permanent home opening this season, will surely contend for the playoffs after a dreadful season in 2014.

Advantage: Even


Intangibles:

New York has not had a ton of success against the MLS original Quakes, with a 12-17-9 all-time record and only an 8-5-6 record at home. The Red Bulls have only won one of the last five matches between the teams, a three-nil victory in April 2011.  Last season’s match was a one-one draw decided when Miazga allowed the departed Stephen Lenhart to score in the 85th minute at Red Bull Arena.  After winning at Seattle, the Quakes will not be intimidated by Red Bull Arena.  The weather Friday will be a mixed bag, with rain through midday, but by kickoff the skies will be mostly cloudy with a lovely 67 degrees.  Hopefully the rain won’t keep the fans away, but a 7pm kickoff on a Friday might be tough for fans hoping to get home, then into Harrison during rush hour.

Advantage: Even


Prediction:
San Jose offers another great test for a New York squad that’s exceeded all expectations but their own.  The best home field advantage in MLS will be needed in a lively match with lots of attacking skill. I think Alashe will continue to build his resume, and goals from BWP and Grella deliver a two-one New York win.