Preview: New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution

(Image, New York Red Bulls)

(Image, New York Red Bulls)

You can throw the New York Red Bulls’ 4-1 romp over the Revolution last month out the window; Gillette Stadium is a house of horrors. The team is winless in New England over their past 19 encounters, going 0-13-6 for the better part of a decade.

Saturday’s encounter won’t be any easier.

While the Revolution are one of the weakest teams in MLS, their chances against the Red Bulls buoy significantly as the team will likely play without starters Thierry Henry, Jamison Olave and Juninho. With Peguy Luyindula out and Dax McCarty suiting up but unlikely to start, New York will be relying on role players to deliver the result.

According to head coach Mike Petke, that will happen if the team stays disciplined. “No matter how they come out, we have to stick to the way we are going to play and what we want to accomplish in the game,” he said.

Can New York end their atrocious streak in New England? Here is this weeks preview:

PROJECTED LINEUP (4-4-2): ROBLES; BARKLAGE, HOLGERSSON, PEARCE, MILLER; SAM, ALEXANDER, CAHILL, STEELE; AKPAN, ESPINDOLA

ALL TIME RECORD:
New York Red Bulls 20-26-13 overall (4-18-6 at Foxborough)

LAST ENCOUNTER: Red Bulls 4-1 New England Revolution (April 20th, 2013, Red Bull Arena)

BATTLE TO WATCH: Fabian Espindola v. New England Defense. While the Revolution have suffered greatly this year, their defense has been solid. If you take away their blowout loss to the Red Bulls in April, the team has held opponents to four goals in eight games. Espindola will be key to New York’s success.

X-FACTOR: Turf. Foxborough was recently ranked one of the worst fields in the world. The unforgiving grounds can do plenty of damage – especially to visiting sides.

OUTCOME:

As noted earlier, discipline will be the key if New York hope to leave Foxborough with a point. It will be up to coach Petke to eliminate much of the mental concern that always follows this team when they play in Gillette.

“The majority part of this game is the mental aspect of it,” Petke acknowledges. “There is no excuses. My guess, I am not making excuses, it’s not a great turf field. Wednesday night game we usually play up there. It’s a mindset and it’s tough to win on the road in the league.

“We’ve been fortunate to have done well on the road early on and that’s where I am hoping to break the mindset. To me, I don’t care who is in the lineup; whether it’s the first guy in the roster or the 30th. We have a job to do and it would be very unwise to not do everything we can to carry this winning streak.”

Amando Moreno will dress for this game while Andre Akpan is expected to play a larger role. Still, it will be leadership that is needed to corral the group, and that will fall on the shoulders of Tim Cahill.

“I think we were unlucky the last time we played (them) away,” Cahill noted. “I’ve only played there once before. It’s not my favorable pitch to play on, turf. It’s not the best on the body but I suppose it’s a fresh start this year.

“We are flying at the moment, the confidence is high, but it’s all about what we are going to do this weekend and hopefully the fatigue and tiredness will be out of the legs and come the game, we have players ready to be firing at all cylinders.”

Cahill also adds another wrinkle to the equation. With the Red Bulls surging and holding a piece of first place, it will be up to the Revolution to take chances to please what has been a beaten down fanbase at home.

“I think they have to come at us,” he said. “For us, going to New England, putting up with all that and seeing where we can break them down is the most vital thing. I don’t think we are going to be going gung-ho trying to win the game four, five, six nil. It’s all about consistency and making sure we get the result.

“For them, they have to keep their fans happy, come out and put on a performance because that’s what their fans are expecting,” he noted. “It’s all about results for this team.”

Can they end the streak?

PREDICTION: 1-1
Season Record: 4-8
Perfect Predictions: 1 (2-1 RBNY over Toronto FC)


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