Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by MARK FISHKIN

With eight league matches to play, the Red Bulls find themselves in a battle for a top-two finish in the competitive Eastern Conference.

Four points behind the boys from the Bronx, and ahead of Philadelphia only on goal differential, New York needs to grab every home point it can if the Red Bulls are to avoid the knockout round.  Heading to Harrison this weekend is a woeful New England team that hasn’t scored in more than three matches. All indicators point to a Red Bulls win, but this team has struggled against weak opponents before.


Match Information

Sunday, August 28th at Red Bull Arena, 2:30p ET Kickoff

TV/Streaming: ESPN/Watch ESPN

Red Bulls Radio: TuneIn App and www.newyorkredbulls.com/matchday/radio

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Record: GF/GA, Division & League Position, Current League Form

New York: 37 points from 26 gms, 45GF/35GA,  t-3rd in East, t-8th in MLS, WDDWD

New England: 27 points from 26 gms, 29GF/46GA,  8th in East, 17th in MLS, LLLLD


Projected Lineups

New York

NYvNE

New England

NEvNY


The New York attack vs. the Revolution defense

Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Chris Tierney, Je-Vaughn Watson, London Woodberry, Andrew Farrell and Brad Knighton

With another goal against DC last week, Wright-Phillips is red-hot. The all-time leading New York goalscorer has tallied six strikes in his last five matches. New England’s defense has been absolutely dreadful this season, conceding a league-high 46 goals in 28 matches.  The Revs have conceded 13 times over the last five outings. In his eighth season in Foxboro, Chris Tierney (1G/3A) is the longest current-serving Revs player.  Jamaican national teamer Je-Vaughn Watson (1G/1A) has shifted from midfield to defense after he was traded to New England from Dallas in the off-season. Former FC Dallas homegrown London Woodberry (1G) sat out the Revs’ midweek match with a yellow card suspension. The Revolution’s top-round SuperDraft pick in 2013, Andrew Farrell is a mainstay at right back. for Veteran keeper Brad Knighton (1.50 GAA), now in his second stint with the Revolution, posted his first shutout of the year in San Jose on Wednesday, though the Earthquakes have scored the fewest goals in MLS.

Advantage: New York


The New England forward vs. the New York back line

Kei Kamara vs. Kemar Lawrence, Aurelien Collin, Ronald Zubar, Chris Duvall, and Luis Robles

After getting shipped out of Columbus in May for clashing with his teammates, Kei Kamara has tallied all of four times for New England. Kamara, who tied 2015 MLS Golden Boot winner Giovinco with 22 goals, has found the net only once in his last seven matches. New York has allowed 10 goals in the club’s eight-match league unbeaten run. Kemar Lawrence, who’s knock on DC’s Lloyd Sam on Sunday led to a penalty, will depart after the match for the Jamaican national team’s World Cup Qualifiers. Collin and Zubar continue to be a formidable pair, though the two haven proven liable on the counter. Duvall showed well at RFK and should get another start. Robles hasn’t been to blame on any of the recent goals New York allowed to DC, Montreal, or LA.

Advantage: New York


The Midfields

Mike Grella, Sean Davis, Sacha Kljestan, Felipe, and Alex Muyl vs. Kelyn Rowe, Gerson Koffie, Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell, and Diego Fagundez.

The Red Bulls have a more dynamic midfield than this weekend’s opponents.  Mike Grella (6G/6A) picked up another assist on BWP’s goal in the muck of RFK last week. Sean Davis (2G/3A) had an off match last Sunday, but on DC’s field the central midfielders were ignored through much of the match. Kljestan (5G/15A) is now the all-time club single-season assist leader. With New York’s second goal last week Felipe (5G/6A) matched his personal MLS single-season scoring mark. Muyl (1G/4A) continues to sit on the list of best league rookies. For the Revs, the names remain the same as past years, but without a hard man like the departed Jermaine Jones, there’s little bite. Kelyn Rowe (3G/4A) has three assists in his last ten matches. Gerson Koffie (3A) moved to the Revs after four seasons in Vancouver this off season. Talented midfielder Lee Nguyen (5G/7A) is the Revs’ leading scorer this season as he tries to lift his club. Scott Caldwell (2A) is a homegrown player who was coached by Portland’s Caleb Porter while the two were at Akron. Diego Fagundez (3G/2A), incredibly in his sixth season in New England, has never regained the form of his 2013 season when he notched 13 goals and seven assists as an 18 year-old. Fagundez scored the only goal of the match when the Revs beat New York 1-0 on April 1st, while Kemar Lawrence lay injured on the Gillette Stadium turf.

Advantage: New York


The Coaches

Jesse Marsch continues to take some heat for his club’s road tendencies, but New York has scored twice in its last four away matches and came away with a point every time. When playing at home, Marsch expects his team to win. Jay Heaps‘ seat is much, much hotter than his New York counterpart’s, but it’s not his fault that the replacement for Jermaine Jones both are injured. Heaps has been at New England for six seasons. 2016 may be his last.

Advantage: New York


Intangibles

New York’s nine home wins are tied for most in MLS this season, and the Red Bulls are on an 8-0-1 run at Red Bull Arena, outscoring the opposition 22-4 over that span. The home team has won the last four matches in this series. The Revs are 1-7-5 away from Gillette in 2016. Going back ten seasons, New England’s single win in New York came in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. The match should attract a strong crowd. The first 10,000 fans at RBA on Sunday will receive a free t-shirt. Sunday’s match will be played under clear skies with temps in the upper eighties.

Advantage: New York


Prediction

Sunday’s match is one of those that on paper New York should win handily, frankly. New England doesn’t pose the same threat that a Montreal , City, or Orlando poses, but any team with talented players like Kamara and Nguyen will be a challenge. New England is in a bad place, but is only two points below the line. The Red Bulls will win, but it won’t be the waltz that many are expecting. A late goal allow the home fans to exhale. Two-nil will be the score.