Due to a scheduling quirk, New York (2-0-1) will complete it's season series with FC Dallas tomorrow night at the Deep Dish, to be seen on the Deuce at 8pm ET. To say that there's a groundswell of optimism around the undefeated #1 team in MLS is a big understatement. The area's media, however, has yet to get on the Red Bull bandwagon. When leaving Saturday's victory over Houston at the Swamp, neither of the two NY-based news nor sports stations mentioned the score during sports updates. Sunday's New York Times ran the AP game recap in its sports section, even though the match was played at home. Methinks that a national prime-time television appearance would get the underpaid wonks in Red Bull Media Relations to push hard on the local media to pay attention.
Now to the game at hand. For the second straight week, New York faces the Western leader, this time the Steers of Frisco (2-1-1). I'm sure that El Pescadito and the boys will be pumped for revenge after their 0-3 loss in NY's bathtub eleven days ago. The Red Bulls will be without Cleetus, who's sitting out his suspension after his undeserved red card on Saturday night. Here's how it plays out, line-by-line.
The Dallas forwards vs. the Red Bulls' defense:
Carlos Ruiz and Kenny Cooper vs. Hunter Freeman, Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes, Todd Dunivant (and Ronald Waterreus). By holding Dallas off the board for 74 minutes tomorrow, New York will break Dallas' scoreless-streak-to-start-a-season record, held by the '99 edition of the Burn. Dallas finally got goals from folks other than the front line in Sunday's win over Colorado. Playing at home, though, one has to think that the Hoops' talented forward pair will break through. Slight Advantage: Dallas
New York's attackers vs. the Hoops' defense:
Jozy Altidore vs. Alex Yi, Clarence Goodson, Drew Moor, and Chris Gbani (and Shaka Hislop). Dallas' defense has given up 1.75 goals/match to start the season, not really good enough to excel over the course of a full campaign. Look for Jozy the wonder boy to play alone up top, helped by wings van den Burgh and Richards. Should Jersey's finest hit the net on the national stage, the hype machine may come off its moorings. Slight Advantage: New York
Ramon Nunez, Dax McCarty, Aaron Pitchkolan, and Juan Toja vs. Dema Kovalenko, Claudio Reyna, Seth Stammler, Dave van den Bergh and Dane Richards. The five-man NY midfield will include Reyna, who sat out the teams' match in East Rutherford on the 15th. In that match, New York controlled the pace to set up numerous scoring chances. Dallas' youth won't serve them here, though Nunez and McCarty are the best of the Hoops' bunch. Advantage: New York
Steve Morrow should have little to complain about. His club's only loss was in the last of a three-match, eight-day road trip, and was played in a monsoon. Bruce Arena has his team believing in themselves, and New York is sure to be boosted from its introduction to Juan Pablo Angel at practice on Tuesday. Advantage: New York
Another MLS Primetime Thursday, another view of empty seats at a soccer-specific stadium. At least the weather (Clear, 51 degrees) will be perfect this time around. Advantage: Push
Prediction: All I know is, a New York win puts the Red Bulls 10 (10!) points up on DC after four matches. Enough to put a spring in a NY fan's step. You know why, now don't you, D? New York wins, 2-1.
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