Friday, April 07, 2006

Finally Here

A month after the Red Bulls were born, the team finally gets a chance to strut their stuff in front of the hometown fans. Pres/GM Alexi Lalas has promised to “blow our minds,” and tomorrow’s home opener at Giants Stadium should do just that. With music, motocross, appearances by Pele and other former Cosmo and Metro greats, parachuters, bald eagles, a dry weather forecast (thank goodness) and at least 30,000 fans, it should be a great night. After the circus, though, there’ll still be a game to be played.

Here’s a preview of the key matchups, assuming the same formations as last weekend:

The Revs’ forwards vs. the Red Bulls defense:
It’ll be the USMNT’s Dempsey, Noonan, and Twellman vs. a young back line of Wynne, Graham, Parke, and Mendes. Last week, Wynne and Parke made crucial mistakes that let DC back in the match. Even with a superlative effort by the D and Tony Meola, it’d be hard to give New York the nod here. The only hope is that the Revs’ talented forwards are looking ahead to Tuesday’s US match vs. Jamaica & tone down the intensity a notch. Advantage: NE

The Red Bulls’ forwards vs. the Revs’ defense:
Djorkaeff and Buddle vs. Jay Heaps, Daniel Hernandez, and James Riley. Yes, NE will still be without 2005 Rookie of the Year Michael Parkhurst, and keeper Matt Reis is nursing a tender hamstring. However, the Revs kept a high-powered Galaxy off the board on Saturday in LA. Word on BAS this morning is that Youri’s a little teed off that the league has put the kibosh on his “interference” style goals moving forward. Buddle looked dangerous in DC, but he won’t get another gift like the one Perkins dropped at his feet this week. The NY attack is still a work in progress. Slight Advantage: NE

The Midfielders:
For New England, Steve Ralston, Andy Dorman, Shalrie Joseph, and Joe Franchino. For New York: Seth Stammler, Amado Guevara, Danny O’Rourke, and Chris Henderson. If there’s a weak link in on the Revs’ side, it’s young Dorman, though the Boston University product did serve up the ball that led to NE’s winning goal last week. Franchino will do his usual heel-nipping job all over the field. Joseph was a serious MVP candidate last season, and Ralston is still hoping to snag a spot on Bruce’s squad for Germany. On the Red Bulls' side is Stammler, who did such a masterful job controlling Ralston during the Metro’s 2-0 home playoff win last season. Guevara should have had an easier time this week after his challenges in Honduras before the DC match. Still, NY is facing a good group that has more experience playing as a unit: Advantage: NE

Steve Nicol did a masterful job last week in LA, exacting revenge for the MLS Cup loss last season. Mo is still finding his way. Advantage: NE

Much was said about the lift that Red Bulls felt from their away fan contingent last week in DC. There’ll be 500 Rev fans in attendance tomorrow, and they'll be sure to lift the NE squad. Though the crowd at Giants Stadium may top 35,000, many will be folks who will be attracted by the sideshow and aren’t really fans of the Red Bulls, at least not yet. An organized, loud NE group could quiet the NY fans, especially if the Revs get an early lead. That said, a pre-game pep-talk by Pele and Franz Beckenbauer (or Shakira) may but an extra zip in the step of the Red Bulls. Advantage: Push

Final Prediction: The NY fans will want a show, but would have been better served playing Columbus, Colorado or RSL as the home opener opponent. NE has more talent, and that’ll be obvious on the field. Score: 3-1 Revolution

TV Time

Here’s what you can find on the tube this weekend (all times ET):


7:30am: EPL: Tottenham-Man City, FSC
10:00am: GER: Borussia Dortmund-Bayer Leverkusen, FSC
12noon: EPL: Wigan-Birmingham, FSC
12noon: ESP: Cadiz-Real Betis, GOL
2:30pm: ITA: Ascoli-Inter Milan, GOL
3:00pm: EPL: Charlton-Everton, FSC
4:00pm: MLS: DC United-Chivas USA, ESPN2
4:00pm: MEX: Toluca-Tigres, GALA
4:30pm: ESP: Celta Vigo-Valencia, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: Monterrey-San Luis, GALA
6:30pm: URU: Central Espanol-Penarol, GOL
7:30pm: MLS: New York-New England, DK (10pm on MSG TD)
8:30pm: MLS: Houston-Kansas City, DK
8:30pm: MLS: FC Dallas-Real Salt Lake, DK
8:30pm: COL: Millonarios-Tolima, GOL
9:30pm: MLS: Colorado-Columbus, DK
10:00pm: MEX: Atlas-Santos, TELEF
11:00pm: MLS: Los Angeles-Chicago, DK, HDNet

SUNDAY, April 9

9:00am: ITA: Cagliari-Palermo, FSC
9:00am: ITA: AC Milan-Chievo, GOL
11:00am: ESP: Ath. Bilbao-Mallorca, GOL
1:00pm: ENG: Chelsea-West Ham, FSC
1:00pm: ESP: Racing Santander-Barcelona, GOL
3:00pm: FRA: Rennes-Sochaux, FSC
3:00pm: BRA: Santos-Portuguesa, GOL
5:00pm: EXH: UVA Women-Washington Freedom, FSC
5:00pm: MEX: America-UNAM, GALA
6:30pm: COL: Quindio-Once Caldas, GOL
7:00pm: EXH: UVA Men-DC United Reserves, FSC
9:30pm: ITA: Juventus-Fiorentina, GOL
11:00pm: ARG: River Plate-Instituto, FSC

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