Friday, April 13, 2007

Red Bulls Preview: Game #2 vs. Steers

Another year, another season-opening draw for the Red Bulls, this time in snowy Columbus. If last week's match taught us anything, its that: A) a healthy Reyna will pay huge dividends for the New York in the form of quality scoring chances, B) Dane Richards has an incredibly bright future, and C) The Red Bulls really, really need a forward. Next up: FC Dallas (1-0-1) who'll surely be gassed by their 2-1 win in LA last night and their cross-country trip. The great equalizer will certainly be the storm that will be bearing down on the Meadowlands just in time for the 3pm Sunday kickoff. Here's the breakdown:

The Dallas forwards vs. the Red Bulls' defense:
Carlos Ruiz and Kenny Cooper vs. Marvell Wynne, Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes, Todd Dunivant (and Ronald Waterreus). While New York held the "vaunted" Crew attack scoreless on the road, the Red Bulls will have their hands full with Dallas' attacking tandem, which may be the most dangerous in MLS. It's been two games, two goals each for Ruiz and Cooper, who will test Wattereus, big time. Advantage: Dallas

New York's attackers vs. the Hoops' defense:
John Wolyniec and Clint Mathis vs. Alex Yi, Clarence Goodson, Drew Moor, and Chris Gbani (and Shaka Hislop). Dallas' defense was four minutes away from a shutout last night against an offensive-minded Galaxy club that boasted Landon Donovan, Nate Jaqua, and Cobi Jones. Take away a bravura performance by RSL's Jeff Cunningham, and Dallas' 1.5 GAA looks respectable. Despite numerous chances in the first half at Columbus, attacking is clearly the Red Bulls' weakest area. A start by Cletus may provide some spark. Maybe. Advantage: Dallas

The Midfields:
Ramon Nunez, Dax McCarty, Aaron Pitchkolan, and Juan Toja vs. Dema Kovalenko, Claudio Reyna, Dave van den Bergh and Dane Richards. Should Reyna's black and blue knee have healed well, New York should be able to control the midfield. Richards showed tons of grit in his debut MLS outing last week, but needs to make that last pass to generate some scoring chances. Dallas' young midfield (average age: 23) will need to step up to feed their talented forwards. Advantage: New York

The Coaches:
Bruce Arena has won in the World Cup. Steve Morrow is a former international... for Northern Ireland. Advantage: New York

The inclement weather may make any cohesive play impossible for either team. Few fans will be rattling around windy & wet Giants Stadium. Dallas' quick turnaround and travel may help the Red Bulls. Advantage: New York

Prediction: This will be an ugly game to play in or to watch. The speed and skill of Ruiz and Cooper will be the difference. Clint Mathis will not score five goals in this one. Promise. Dallas wins, 2-0.

On the Telly

Here's the weekend's matches, times ET. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 14
9:25am: GER: Mainz-Schalke, GOL
10:00am: EPL: Man City-Liverpool, FSC
11:30am: GER: Stuttgart-Hannover, GOL
12noon: EPL: Middlesbrough-Aston Villa, FSC
2:00pm: ESP: Racing Santander-Real Madrid, GOL
2:30pm: EPL: Reading-Fulham, FSC
4:00pm: ESP: Real Betis-Real Sociedad, GOL
4:00pm: HOL: PSV-Twente, TM
6:00pm: MLS: Real Salt Lake-Columbus, DK
6:00pm: MEX: San Luis-Queretaro, GALA
6:00pm: URU: Penarol-Cerrito, GOL
7:30pm: MLS: DC United-Kansas City, FSC
7:30pm: MLS: New England-Toronto, DK
8:00pm: MEX: Tigres-Necaxa, GALA
8:00pm: GOL: Millonarios-Atletico Nacional, GOL
8:30pm: MLS: Houston-Chivas USA, HDNet
10:00pm: MEX: Atlas-Chivas, TF
10:00pm: ELS: Aguila-FAS, GOL

Sunday, April 15
9:00am: ITA: Torino-Atalanta, FSC
9:00am: ITA: Messina-AC Milan, GOL
11:00am: ENG: FA Cup Semifinal: Blackburn-Chelsea, FSC
11:00am: GER: Borussia Dortmund-Werder Bremen, GOL
1:00pm: EPL: Everton-Charlton, FSC
1:00pm: ESP: Osasuna-Recreativo, TM
1:00pm: ESP: Atletico Madrid-Levante, GOL
3:00pm: ARG: Boca Juniors-River Plate, FSC
3:00pm: ESP: Valenica-Sevilla, GOL
3:00pm: MLS: New York-Dallas, TF
5:00pm: MEX: Club America-Tecos, TF
5:00pm: ITA: Palermo-Inter Milan, GOL
5:10pm: ITA: Cagliari-Empoli, FSC
7:00pm: COL: Dep. Cali-Ind. Santa Fe, GOL
8:00pm: MLS: Colorado-Chicago, DK
8:00pm: MEX: Toluca-Pachuca, GALA

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