Friday, April 09, 2010

Red Bulls Preview: Game #3 at Goats

Did you have the Red Bulls as undefeated after two matches?  Me neither.  After a fantastic defensive performance at Seattle, New York makes its second West Coast trip in as many weeks to take on a deflated Chivas team (4p ET, MSG) that's come out of the gate flat as a pancake.  The Goats followed up a 0-1 opening day home loss to Colorado with an 0-2 "road" loss at the HDC to the Galaxy.  While the Red Bulls haven't exactly burned the nets down up front, the team's confidence should be sky-high against a club that's yet to score.  Let's take a line-by-line look at tomorrow's match.

Record, League Position, and Recent Form:
Chivas USA, 0 points from 2 matches, -3 GD, t14th, LL
New York, 6 points from 2 matches, +2 GD, 2nd, WW

Chivas' front line vs. the Red Bull's defense:
Maykel Galindo and Justin Braun vs. Roy Miller, Mike Petke, Tim Ream and Jeremy Hall (and Bouna Coundoul). Galindo has seen better days, but Justin Braun has the potential to grow into a quality MLS finisher. Still, they and reserves Chukwudi Chijindu (best name in the league) and Maicon Santos have yet to find the net.  Yes, the Red Bulls will allow goals this season.  However, New York has effectively shut down two quality attacking sides in Chicago and Seattle.  The Chivas front line isn't as strong as those playoff contenders.  Advantage: New York

New York's attackers vs. the Goats' defense:
Juan Pablo Angel and Mac Kandji vs. Michael Umana, Michael Trujillo, Ante Jazic, and Jonathan Bornstein (and Dan Kennedy). After another week of healing for JPA, and another week of practice connecting with Joel Lindpere, this may be the week that Angel hits the net.  Kandji's confidence has to be huge after last week's game-winner.  Chivas' defense has allowed goals to Rapids' sniper Omar Cummings and two to a rejuvenated Edson Buddle of the Galaxy.  New York's attackers fit nicely in with this group  Advantage: New York

The Midfields:
Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, and Seth Stammler vs. Sacha Kljestan, Osael Romero, Blair Gavin, and Marcelo Saragosa. Stammler was the man last week in d-mid, cutting out Sounders passes and snuffing scoring opportunities.  Look for Lindpere to generate more offense than last week's match.  Hope for Dane Richards to play like he did against Santos. For Chivas, Kljestan should make the US roster for South Africa as a backup, but there's not enough talent here to effectively control the center of the field.  Advantage: New York

The Coaches:
New York's Hans Backe returns to the sideline quickly after gallbladder surgery.  Backe has his team playing cohesively, and has won a match in league play. Chivas' Martin Vasquez hasn't.  Vasquez needs to get primal to motivate his side, because an 0-3 start (0-2 at home) will turn a long April into a long season. Advantage: New York

Intangibles:
A loss, and Chivas will see any promise of a successful 2010 season ebb away.  However, a team disrespected and backed into a corner can be extremely dangerous.  New York, unexpectedly at the top of East after two weeks, may take the foot off the gas a bit knowing there'll be winnable home matches coming up vs. Dallas and Philadelphia. Advantage: Chivas

Prediction: On the week's Seeing Red, I called this match as a 1-1 draw, but breaking it down this way, I can't see Chivas getting a point here.  Angel opens his scoring account, and sub Salou Ibrahim adds another in a 2-nil New York win.

Finally, a thank you from the Red Bulls to the schedule maker.  After this week, NY will have played half of the club's four league matches in the Pacific Time Zone this season.  The third will come on May 8th (at San Jose), the 7th MLS match of the season.  Nice!

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