Matchday 8 Preview: New York Red Bulls
Matchday 8 Preview: New York Red Bulls
Ah, yes, this ol team. Finally an MLS side FC Cincinnati has some experience against. FCC last faced the New York Red Bulls in that incredible Open Cup run in 2017, finally falling in extra time after hanging a 2-0 lead on the energy drink advertisement. While NYRB are coming off of, literally, the best regular season in the history of MLS last year, a fact that doesn’t get talked about enough, they find themselves in the middle of a coaching controversy. FCC for their part are looking to right the ship and solidify their playoff bona fides.
Despite FC Cincinnati’s previous five games including three loses, a draw, and a single win, they’re still doing better than New York Red Bulls. The New Jersey based team enters the match having lost four of their last five matches, the sole non loss being a 2-2 draw away to Kansas City. In their last five games NYRB has managed to score a mere 3 goals, an embarrassing amount that FC Cincinnati… matches. If you were betting on this game, you could do worse than putting money down on a 0-0 draw.
Both of these teams come into the game with off-field player behavior as their dominate stories. FC Cincinnati finally has their big DP signing Fenando Adi back on the team following his suspension for a DUI. Red Bulls recently learned their star player Kaku will have an extended suspension after he kicked ball as hard as he could into the stands. Now, on the face of it, that doesn’t sound too bad. But I’d advise you take a look at the video:
Kaku was a major target this offseason of Mexican juggernaut Club America, and keeping him was a huge win for NYRB. Dealing with this however, leaves them shorthanded at a time when their dependable goal-scorer Bradley Wright-Philips, is starting to slow down.
This match also features two coaches with plenty of undue pressure. Alan Koch took a beating after the 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. And despite this being the club’s first year in MLS, having just one winter window to build a team, and plenty of injuries to deal with, portions of the fan base are expecting FCC to roll this league as if it were full of Riverhouds and Hammerheads.
Chris Armas has been plagued by stupid rumors of former player Thierry Henery coming in to take his job. Again, despite Armas helping guide the Austrian-based energy drink PR vehicle to the best ever regular season, fans are not happy. In fact, this year the club has been forced to tarp off parts of their stadium. Seems the winning soccer team in a city with a metro population of 20 million people can’t convince 25 thousand to show up.
Both of these teams will need a win here to show their fan bases better days are ahead. A loss by either team could send them spiraling. With both clubs failing to score goals at the moment, the first team to score a goal is likely to be the winner.
Players You Should Know or Might Know
Aaron Long, DEF
Long, like Tim Parker, is near the top of the US Men’s National Team’s player pool. Having most recently played against Panama for the US in the 3-0 victory for the good guys, Long is in contention to make the Gold Cup roster and become a part of the 2022 World Cup qualifying process. While not a product of the vaunted New York Red Bull academy, having been originally drafted by Portland, he played his way from the New York Red Bulls II team to become one of the best center backs in MLS.
Tim Parker, DEF
You could probably just copy and paste what I wrote about Aaron Long about Tim Parker. And it’s fitting that the core of the NYRB back-line is so similar. Swap Portland for Vancouver, drop the bit about NYRBII and it’s pretty much the same story here. The big exception is FCC fans were convinced we were going to sign Tim Parker this last off season. So that’s neat. Parker and Long combine to be the best center back duo in the league. But not as loveable as Lasso and Hagglund let’s be real.
Bradley Wright-Philips, FWD
This guy. This guy. Breaker of hearts, smasher of dreams, and all around villain of FC Cincinnati fans. If you don’t remember it was his two goals in the Open Cup semi-final that dashed our dreams of a Cup Final and made me look stupid for already working out how I was going to drive to Kansas City while I was standing in the bailey. BWP has all of the MLS goal scoring records (this isn’t true but it FEELS true) and has been the talisman in Harrison, NJ. However, he’s really slowed down recently. One goal in 11 appearances so far this year has NYRB hurting for goals. Will his struggles continue, or does Chris Armas take his chance with a younger striker like Christian Casseres?
Powell had a decent game last week if you think of him as a winger. If you think of him as a right back then he had a mediocre game. Saief can’t seem to connect with anyone consistently and Mattocks has caught a case of the nofirsttouchitis. Lamah and Cruz on the wings were active, but not effective. After 76 corner kicks last week (again, not true but it FEELS true), we need a big attacking option up top. It’s a shame this team doesn’t have a proven MLS goal scorer who is 6’4 and hungry to score. Oh wait a second!
Koch will likely stick with Richey, despite three goals last week there wasn’t much you could pin on him directly. Hoyte did fine against LAFC, so why not use him here with Garza out? Powell has earned a shot at being a winger, and it would be interesting to see what he would be able to do. And yes, bank on Adi starting up top. This team is built around getting the ball quickly to an effective shooter up top, and we haven’t had one for a while now.
Greg Garza, DEF - Questionable
Emmanuel Ledesma, MID - Questionable
Jimmy McLaughlin, MID - Out
New York Red Bulls
Alex Muyl, FWD - Questionable
Florian Valot, MID - Out
FC Cincinnati finally exercises their demons and wins 1-0.