Thursday, July 26, 2007

Red Bulls Preview: Game 18 vs. Goats

New York (8-6-3) is playing the middle match of a five-game homestand where they've lost to the Revs and beaten DC United by 1-0 scores. This will be the first Red Bulls match in a month when all three strikers (JPA, Woly, Jozy) are with the team, fit, and free of suspension.

Chivas USA (7-5-3) has lost only once in their last four outings, and are currently tied with DC United in the final MLS Cup playoff position. Star striker Cuban Maykel Galindo has yet to find the net in the month of July (three matches).

Recent Form:
New York: LLWLW
Chivas USA: LWLDW

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

The Chivas forwards vs. the Red Bulls' defense:
Ante Razov and Maykel Galindo vs. Hunter Freeman, Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes, and Kevin Goldthwaite (and Ronald Wattereus). The Chivas strikers (the RaGa boys? Anyone?) have scored 12 of the Goats' 20 goals this season. Razov, the one-time Metro, has two goals in two matches with Chivas vs. New York. True, NY has posted two shutouts in its last three outings, but the Red Bulls will be missing Jeff Parke in the center-back position, and Wattereus hasn't exactly thrilled since his return from injury. Advantage: Chivas USA

New York's attackers vs. the Goats' defense:
Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore vs. Orlando Perez, Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas, and Lawson Vaughn (and Brad Guzan). Though Jozy is listed as the probable starter, don't be surprised if John Wolyniec starts alongside JPA tonight. Combined, the two have 12 goals for New York, and Woly has the last two game-winners. Chivas has only given up 16 goals in 15 outings, led by US keeper-of-the-future Guzan and ancient Mexican icon Suarez. Advantage: Push

The Midfields:
Dema Kovalenko, Claudio Reyna, Clint Mathis and Dane Richards vs. Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Mendoza, Jesse Marsch, and Lawson Vaughn. Look for the fading Dave van den Burgh to go if Kovalenko isn't fully healed from injury. New York needs Dema's work rate and inspirational play to lift the team. Mathis hasn't scored since June 16th, five games ago. Chivas' young wingers are the future of the USMNT, and will run all day. The Chivas midfield only has scored twice all season. Advantage: New York

The Coaches:
Bruce Arena has hopefully begun to pull his team out of a horrible slump. The injury bug hasn't helped, but a win here, combined with Sunday's victory over DC, could help raise the club's confidence to where it was in May. Preki is doing a good job in his rookie coaching season, and the playoffs are well within Chivas' expectation. Advantage: New York

Intangibles:
New York has yet to close to Chivas USA (2-0-2), but without Parke and possibly Kovalenko, the Red Bulls will have to lean on Reyna to take control of the game. As always with Chivas, Mexican fans may provide a large turnout to support the visitors Advantage: Push

Prediction: The strong Chivas defensive may neutralize Angel, but perhaps this is the night that Clint Mathis finally becomes the all-time leader in New York MLS scoring history. New York nemesis Razov finds a way as well. New York wins, 2-1.

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