Saturday, April 9, 2011

Matchday @PPL Park: Union vs Red Bulls

Good Afternoon! It's a beautiful day here in Red Bulls Land. Today, our team travels a couple of hours south, to picturesque Chester, PA's PPL Park, for an I-95 rivalry game against the Philadelphia Union. Last year, the Union's first in MLS, both team's split their League meetings, with the Red Bulls winning @The Cathedral of Football by the score of 2-1 and the Union winning @PPL by the same scoreline. The Union have had a bad week, with a 1-0 League loss agains the Galaxy last Saturday and a midweek US Open Cup play-in loss agains DC United (highlights here). More importantly, most of their starters played in that Open Cup play-in loss that went to overtime, then penalties. They must be a bit tired, not to mention frustrated. Needless to say, the Union will be seeking to rebound against RBNY.

The Red Bulls, on the other hand, will be rested and will, hopefully, have left the frustration of not getting all three points against the Dynamo, this past Saturday, behind them. New man Dwayne De Rosario will have had one full week of training with his new teammates so last week's central midfield starter, Medhi Ballouchy, will, hopefully, be starting @left bench. The 500+ Red Bulls supporters, who are making the short trip (including myself), will demand an effort to rival the second half of last week's game. Let it be so Odin!

Alrighty then! So with all that in mind, let's get to some predictions:

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
Last year we traveled to Philly full of confidence and put in what was probably our worst performance of the season. Even then, we had a chance to get a draw at the death if Juan Agudelo's shot had gone in. Fast forward five months or so. With the addition of DeRo, we have a much stronger squad than we have ever had - arguably the strongest lineup top to bottom in club history and one of the best in league history. With DeRo in the lineup in the second half against Houston, we played our best 45 minutes of soccer this season - and that was before he had a chance to properly train with the squad.

If the Red Bulls can bring the same kind of effort to PPL on Saturday, I have no doubt that we will walk away with all three points and shut the Philly big mouths up for a while. My only concern is the presence of a certain Carlos Ruiz in the Union lineup, who has a knack for going down in the box and conning MLS refs. Taking all this into account, my prediction is a 3-1 Red Bulls victory, with goals by Agudelo, DeRo and Marquez. Ruiz will flop for a consolation penalty for the Union.
I'm going to mirror the optimism that everyone is feeling right now and say the Red Bulls will win this one. Now is a good a time as ever for the great Thierry Henry to break out of his funk. The insertion of DeRo into the starting lineup will mean that many chances will be created today and several of those should be put away. My final prediction: RBNY 3, Philly Union 1.Homebrew Tim has this for us:
An early-season road trip to a young but hated rival. They may not be the Scummiest, but they are the Philthiest to be sure.

Last week's draw to Houston was frustrating, but, man, what a barrage in the second half! With his impressive 2nd half debut behind him, and a week of practice with his new team, certainly Dwayne De Rosario gets the start in the attacking midfield slot this week. Bouna gets another chance in the net to redeem his massive blunder last week. 500+ of the greatest supporters in MLS will be violating the curfew in Chester to support the Red Bulls.

The blight on MLS known as the Philadelphia Union started the season 2-0 against weak competition, but then failed to get a single shot on goal last week when they faced real competition. This week is going to be what we all hoped last week would have been. I see road domination, as our defense continues to hold strong while our offense finally kicks into gear. We'll see a 4-1 Red Bulls victory. Dane with a brace, Henry rights the ship, and say, Ream off a corner kick.
Our man in the UK, Glenn Williams, has this for us:
This match really worries me. There are so many Union fans shouting their mouths off that I'll never live it down if we lose this. Union have only conceded once in three games and look more stubborn in defence. New York, meanwhile, have only managed two goals in three games and are struggling to kill teams off. This has 0-0, or a catastrophic loss, all over it.

But I'm going to be uncharacteristic and fly in the face of my optimism and go for a 2-0 Red Bulls win, with Henry and De Rosario getting the goals. Please, Red Bulls, do not lose to Philly.
Last, but not least, the great You Suck Corrales has this for us:
If there is a must win away match this early in the season then this is it. We must make a statement and take over the top spot in the East. Hopefully we can recreate the offensive blitzkrieg we mustered in the 2nd half against Houston, but with some finishing. If that happens it will be a glorious victory. I am predicting 3-1 to the Red Bulls. DeRro, Joel, and Agudelo. Henry hits the post twice and puts a sitter 20 yards over the bar. Bouna makes several tremendous saves but also makes a massive positioning blunder that costs a goal.
Alright! Now it's time to put on my bullet proof vest. Who Shot Sam, You Suck Corrales and myself, along with about 500 of our closest friends, will be down @PPL today. Look for our Award Winning coverage of today's events in the coming days. Viper Out!
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