Friday, May 11, 2007

Red Bulls Preview: Game 6 vs. Rocky Mountain Oysters

After a sterling first month of the season, New York (3-0-2) must play through the club's first bout of adversity as the Red Bulls play its fifth straight Western Conference opponent, the Colorado Rapids (2-2-2), on Mom's Day in the Meadowlands. (3pm ET, TF/MSG)

After not conceding a single goal in its first four league matches, New York allowed three twice last week; first in a 3-3 injury-time collapse at RSL, and then in a 3-1 OT loss at Los Angeles in a US Open Cup quallie. In addition to the sudden downturn in defense, the club must make due on Sunday without D Hunter Freeman and coo-coo-ca-choo GK Ronald Wattereus, who are both nursing left ankle sprains.

The arrival of Juan Pablo Angel to the active list does provide some positive news. He had NY's only goal in LA on Tuesday on a great free kick, and will look for more on Sunday.

Here's a line-by-line look at what to expect:

The Colorado forwards vs. the Red Bulls' defense:
Roberto Brown and Nicolas Hernandez vs. Seth Stammler, Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes, Todd Dunivant (and Jon Conway). The off-season acquisition of Brown has paid dividens for the Rapids as the canalero has found the net three times in six league matches. The same success has eluded Nico, who's yet to register a shot on goal this year. The Red Bulls will need Stammler to adjust to d-wing from d-mid, though the former Maryland Terp has played his share of pure D in his time in NY. Advantage: Push

New York's attackers vs. the Rapids' defense:
Jozy Altidore vs. Dan Gargan, Pablo Mastroeni, Mike Petke, Greg Vanney. You won't find a more experienced d-line in MLS than Colorado's, but the Rapids are only ranked ninth in the league in goals-against (1.5/game). Jozy didn't register a point at RSL last week, breaking a three-week scoring streak, but with the right service, and perhaps help from Juan Pablo Angel, who isn't on the "probable starters" list, the Red Bulls may fest. Advantage: New York

The Midfields:
Terry Cooke, Kyle Beckerman, Jovan Kirovski, and Herculez Gomez vs. Dema Kovalenko, Claudio Reyna, Clint Mathis, Dave van den Bergh and Dane Richards. Colorado's midfield boasts lots of scoring talent, especially Gomez (2g) and Beckerman (1g, 1a). Still, the Rapids could only manage an own-goal last night at home against a poor RSL squad. New York's midfield helped generate 21 shots on goal in matches at RSL and LA last week. Slight Advantage: New York

The Coaches:
I cheered on Fernando Clavijo as a player in the '94 World Cup. Success on the coaching level has eluded him, though. Arena has a real test ahead of him, helping his squad navigate their first run of bad results and bad luck. He's really good at this sort of thing. Advantage: New York

Colorado is pulling the last of a Thursday-Sunday weekend, so they'll certainly be gassed in the lategoing. The weather will be glorious, and hopefully a large Colombian contingent will be in attendance to support JPA. Advantage: New York

Prediction: While Colorado is leading the weak West at present, home cooking will be good to the Red Bulls. The Angel era starts with a convincing victory. New York wins, 2-0.

Media Relations Campaign
If you're in the New York area, you are probably aware of the poor track record that the area news and sports media has when reporting Red Bulls news. In an email exchange with the Red Bull front office last week, I noted that key outlets:

-WFAN and ESPN Sports Radio
-WCBS and WINS News Radio
-SNY and YES Sports Cable Nets

Completely ignored the team, failing to mention scores on game days, or any news on the club in general. While getting noticed is surely a challenge for any small club, the news of the club's great start and acquisitions should be noted in the logical places. Fan support is crucial, and the recent addition of a Saturday soccer-themed segment on WOR 710 am is proof that the fans can sway programmers.

I'm starting a write-in campaign to the outlets noted above. Our first target is WCBS 880 am News Radio. Please take a minute to write Jared Max, Sports Director at Let him know that news of Red Bulls matches should be part of every sports report on days when the team plays, and that scores should be mentioned as well. Drop me a comment if you decide to take part. Please do!

TV Party

Here's what to watch this weekend. Enjoy! (all times ET):

Saturday, May 12:
9:25am: GER: Borussia Dortmund-Schalke, GOL
11:30am: GER: Bochum-Stuttgart, GOL
2:00pm: ESP: Real Madrid-Espanyol, GOL
3:30pm: MLS: Toronto-Chicago, FSC
4:00pm: ESP: Sevilla-Recreativo, GOL
6:00pm: GUA: Marquense-Suchitepequez, GOL
7:00pm: WNT: United States-Canada, FSC
7:30pm: MLS: Columbus-Chivas USA, DK/FSNPT/WCSN
8:00pm: MLS: Kansas City-Dallas, DK/FSNSW/Metro Sports
8:00pm: COL: Millonarios-Huila, GOL
9:00pm: MEX: Chivas-Tigres, TF
10:30pm: MLS: Los Angeles-New England, HDNet/FSN West/WSBK

Sunday, May 13 (Happy Mother's Day!):
9:00am: ITA: Inter Milan-Lazio, GOL
10:00am: EPL: Man. United-West Ham, FSC
11:00am: ESP: Getafe-Atletico Madrid, GOL
12:30pm: EPL: Blackburn-Reading, FSC
2:30pm: EPL: Chelsea-Everton, FSC
3:00pm: ESP: Valencia-Real Zaragoza, GOL
3:00pm: MLS: New York-Colorado, TF/MSG/Altitude
4:30pm: ITA: Catania-AC Milan, FSC
5:00pm: URU: Danubio-Penarol, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: America-Atlas, UNI
7:00pm: HON: Marathon-Real Espana, GOL

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