There is a current 4 way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference but this is to Montreal's advantage as they have games in hand on each of their opponents. Montreal has 17 points in 8 games while Houston has played 9, SKC has played 10 while the Red Bulls have 11 games under their belt.
As mentioned this week on the Le Footy Weekly podcast, a draw would be a more than acceptable result for the Impact. With 2 home games coming up (including the Amway final against Vancouver), it would be best to rest some regulars for this game to have them ready to go for the Stade Saputo battles.
There are a few of burning questions surrounding this game:
- Can Justin Mapp put in another All Star like performance?
- Is this the game that Jeb Brovsky gets a rest?
- Is it time to bench Felipe in favor of Collen Warner?
- Will Di Vaio bounce back from a quiet game and be more clinical against Thierry Henry's crew?
To get you ready for this game, Mount Royal Soccer invited Matt Coyne of Once A Metro to answer some questions and give you an inside look at the Red Bulls. Here we go!
The Red Bulls are tied for first in the East and coming into this game riding a 3 game winning streak. After starting the season winless in their first four games, what has led to the Red Bulls resurgence?
Normally, I'd love to give a succinct answer here, but I don't think I can. The team shifted away from the 4-3-3 and into a 4-4-2, found some wide midfielders in Eric Alexander and Jonny Steele, Roy Miller stopped exploding, they settled on the centerback pairing of Markus Holgersson and Jamison Olave, Tim Cahill found his scoring touch.
It seemed like there were a lot of growing pains earlier in the year. A new coach, a new roster and new approach to the game but it seems like rookie Head Coach Mike Petke has brought it all together.
This is the second meeting between the Impact and the Red Bulls. In game 1, in Montreal, NY was missing Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry. Although the Impact won that game 1-0, I remember stating that the game would have had a different result if the superstars were in the lineup. What will be NY's approach to this game compared to the one in Montreal?
Not only were they without Cahill and Henry but they were without Olave too. His absence is huge because he's got the speed to clean up Holgersson's messes. Heath Pearce, who's usually a left back has filled in for the former Real Salt Lake player.
It's a home game too and when the Red Bulls made their trip to Montreal, they were still left with the road game funk hangover that stuck with the team until their trip to D.C. a few weeks ago. Road wins breed confidence and now that they're back home, I see them coming out and taking it to the Impact.
Who has been the Red Bulls' MVP so far this season? Who has been the most disappointing player? Explain.
With all the positive things we've written about him thus far, I know I'm running the risk of sounding like a Tim Cahill fanboy but I'll go with the Aussie for MVP. He's tied for the team lead in goals, tied for second in assists and leads all outfield players in minutes, not to mention all the intangible things he brings to the team. Also, two of his three goals were game winners.
The most disappointing? Juninho. When he came over, Red Bulls fans had visions of a Beckham-esque player, whipping in crosses and being dangerous on set pieces. Instead he's been hurt, suspended and all those highlight reels that come up when you type in "Juninho free kicks?" haven't materialized either. Plus, he's a bit of a defensive liability.
SCOUTING REPORT: Aside from the stars, who must the Impact fear the most?
Steele has turned in some solid performances as of late. He's definitely a player to watch Wednesday night. So far this season, he's already netted a goal and set up two others, putting him one goal short of his total last season and tied with assists.
Predicted formation and starting XI:
Luis Robles; Brandon Barklage; Olave, Holgersson, Roy Miller; Steele, Cahill, Juninho, Alexander; Thierry Henry, Fabian Espindola. A 4-4-2 and not much in the way of changes from their last game...
Final Score: 2-1 Red Bulls