Following what was an incredibly lackluster performance when away to Chicago Fire this past Sunday, the New York Red Bulls must now travel all the way out to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps in a late night midweek Major League Soccer showdown. Due to a variety of reasons which will be mentioned below, New York will be forced to send what will largely resemble a US Open Cup squad out onto the turf/pitch to face off against one of the better teams in the league. It wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that this particular Red Bulls fan isn't expecting a happy outcome.
At least I'll be awake until around 1 am ET for all the fun.
3 thoughts heading into Vancouver vs. NY Red Bulls: Missing again
It's unlikely that either Thierry Henry or Rafa Marquez would have played in Wednesday night's contest due to both the turf that's found at B.C. Place and the long trip were those two players fully fit. Joining Henry and Marquez in the "not available" column are Wilman Conde (in the same boat as Henry and Marquez), Mehdi Ballouchy (still cannot legally enter Canada due to green card issues) and Teemu Tainio (knee). Head coach Hans Backe will also not be traveling out west with the team because of what has been described as a "personal matter."
The New York attack has, in 2012, survived a match or two without either Henry or Ballouchy available. Things have not gone as smoothly, however, when neither are out on the pitch. Hans Backe left many New York fans baffled with the starting eleven he selected on Sunday. Truth be told, I'm actually a little anxious to see which ten players not named Ryan Meara are chosen for Wednesday night's match, and where those particular men will be positioned.
3 thoughts heading into Vancouver vs. NY Red Bulls: Be careful
Every regular season MLS match counts the same in the standings. We all understand that. With that said, there isn't a single diehard RBNY fan out there who would trade a victory on Wednesday for a loss this coming Sunday when the Red Bulls host hated rivals DC United. I point this out because two key New York players, Dane Richards and Dax McCarty, are both one yellow card away from suspension via accumulation. Henry, Marquez and Conde should, in theory, all be available this weekend. All three have also been known to pick up a knock 24-48 hours before match kickoff. In short, New York will need as many available players as possible when hosting a DC side that currently sits atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
Nothing but clean challenges tonight, Dax and Dane.
3 thoughts heading into Vancouver vs. NY Red Bulls: No joke
The Vancouver Whitecaps are neither a fluke nor a joke. Moves were made in the offseason to make Vancouver a playoff contender this fall, they've picked up victories over solid opponents such as Houston, San Jose and Colorado, and they've only lost once at home. That defeat came against Sporting KC, one of the top teams in all of MLS. A full RBNY squad would struggle to escape B.C. Place with a point.
Every MLS team goes through periods where players are missing due to injuries, fatigue and even international call-ups. A good team, one capable of hoisting the MLS Cup when all is said and done, limps through such a stretch of play before immediately forgetting that it ever happened. Losing consecutive games to Chicago and Vancouver in June isn't fun, but it also isn't all that big of a deal. In the end, I see the hosts earning a deserved 3-1 victory on Wednesday.
If New York play as poorly as they did in Chicago, however, we could all be in for a rout.