Thursday, September 11, 2008

A View From the Other Side: RSL vs NY Red Bulls

A View From the Other Side
Real Salt Lake -vs- New York Red Bulls
Courtesy of Onionsack

As we enter the final stretch run for the post season every game takes on an added measure of importance. For the New York Red Bulls the name of the game is to secure maximum points in the 4 remaining home games. The goal isn’t one that is unrealistic either. Over the past two seasons NY boasts one of the best records at home in MLS. In 2008 so far NY is 7W-3D-1L at home, in 2007 NY was 9W-4D-3L for a combined total of 16W-7D-4L over the past two seasons. Needless to say RSL will have its work cut out for them if they expect to earn a point in NY let alone the full points.

Also in the 3 prior meetings between RSL and NYRB at Giants Stadium RSL has yet to earn a victory. They managed two draws and were on the wrong end of a 6-0 beatdown in 2006. So history between the two sides doesn’t seem to favor RSL getting a win at the Meadowlands.

Finally, on current form one would be hard pressed to make the case that RSL has an advantage in that category. NYRB is 3W-3D-1L in its last 7 matches, with all wins coming at home. RSL on the other hand 3W-2D-2L in its last 7 matches with none of those wins coming on the road.

Essentially all the indicators seem to favor NYRB in this match up. Going into this match New York will likely revert back to Osorio’s preferred home formation the 3-5-2.

Angel - - Magee

Van den Bergh - - Rojas - - - - Richards

Pietravallo - - Stammler

Jimenez - - Cichero - - Parke


Look for the Red Bulls to play high pressure team defense with Stammler and Pietravallo doing the workman like ball winning in midfield. The back three will be led by Cichero and they will look to distribute to the midfield from the back, often switching the point of attack from side to side. Rojas will be showing often for the ball looking to spring Richards on the flank or a clever through ball for Angel. He also will drift left often to interchange with Van den Bergh looking to place him in good crossing positions.

Magee will be floating around looking for a poachers opportunity and expect to see NY create several opportunities early as they tend to like to set the tone in the first 20 minutes at home. If NY gets up early you can expect Osorio to ratchet down the defensive effort and look to suffocate the midfield and force RSL to play hopeful balls over the top to be swept away by Cichero and Parke. They will try and force RSL to make poor passes under pressure with their line high to get Richards behind them on a counter with Angel rushing in late in support.

If RSL is to have any chance they must contain Rojas and double up on Angel as well as assign a fullback with great pace wide on Richards. They will also have to be opportunistic with their chances and be clinical on any set piece chances that may fall their way. Its not impossible for them to get the points but their work will be cut out for them.

Prediction: NY 2 - RSL 0

PS. I know many RSL fans read this site, so I would like to just say congratulations on your new stadium it looks fantastic and a true home for the well deserving fans of the franchise. May your fortunes be bright in your new home and we here are happy to help christen your stadium as we have in Pizza Hut Park and Toyota Park.