Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Matchday @Red Bull Arena: Red Bulls vs Rapids

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Good afternoon! What a perfect day it is, here in Red Bulls Land! The sun is shining, the temperature is just right and our beloved team is back in action, @The Cathedral of Football (8:00pm ET, MSG). Today's opponent: none other than the current MLS Champion Colorado Rapids.

The Rapids come into this one sitting in sixth place of MLS' Western Conference (on 16 points) and ravaged by injuries. Two of their main offensive weapons, Omar Cummings & Caleb Folan, are listed as 'doubtful' for this one, with an ankle sprain and a groin strain (respectively). Connor Casey, another one of their main guys, is listed as 'questionable', with a hamstring strain. Without a doubt, it will be a tough outing for the Rapids. That said, they fully believe that a good result can be had today. After that smackdown Chivas USA gave RBNY a couple of weekends back, who wouldn't?

The Red Bulls come into this one sporting a three game winless streak and will be desperate for points. With several International call-ups looming (Dane Richards has already left to join the Jamaican NT), more than a few local pundits (including our own Matt Conroy) have called this one an RBNY 'must-win'.

Also, the Red Bulls are not without injury problems of their own. Thierry Henry hasn't quite fully recovered from a knock on his knee (Chivas USA game) and Rafa Marquez was unlucky to pick up a groin strain, during warm-ups, @Houston. With Carl Robinson still out and Chris Albright just undergoing hernia surgery (plus the aforementioned absence of Richards), it looks like our bench might be tested sooner than expected. With all that in mind, let's get to some predictions!

Matt Conroy has this for us:
I have to admit I'm a bit nervous about this one. The Red Bulls have hit their first real rough patch of the season (relatively) and badly need all three points against a Colorado team that will be without several key players, including Cummings and Folan. Meanwhile RBNY has players of its own missing, with Marquez a question mark and Richards off on Jamaican national team duty. Time to suck it up and get a big win, but I'm not feeling especially confident. Still we probably have enough to eke out a win. I'll go for a 1-0 to RBNY, with Luke Rodgers grabbing the winner late on.
I'm going agree with Matt and predict a Red Bulls victory as well. Our offensive production will suffer today, due to the absence of Dane Richards, but I'm thinking the Red Bulls have enough to eke out a 1-0 victory. Bum knee and all, I'm going to say that Thierry Henry will score the lone Red Bulls goal today.

Homebrew Tim has this for us:
Tonight marks my 4-month-old daughter's first foray into the Cathedral of Football, so I'm counting on Thierry Henry to marshal the troops and get the victory tonight. Will the Red Bulls take this opportunity to show this young fan a winning mentality, or will they let her down and extend their 15 years of disappointment to a new generation? It's up to you, Red Bulls! I'm going to go in with optimism and look for a 2-1 Red Bulls victory. Henry and Lindpere get the job done tonight.
Our man in the UK, Glenn Williams, has this for us:
Tonight will mark the very first time that my girlfriend - a UK MLS convert covering Red Bulls on MLS UK - can catch a game. Early GMT weekend work shifts means she's been unable to stay awake to catch the team live this season, but for the final moments of the LA Galaxy game as she headed off to work! So I'm hoping desperately that the team will return to blistering form and record a good win against an out of sorts Colorado Rapids tonight.

I'm hearing Marquez is out, which is a bit of a blow. I don't really rate Mendes, and Keel obviously isn't a strong starter, but hopefully Ream can steady the backline. Henry is back, which is great because Agudelo just didn't look dangerous against Dynamo. Hopefully Henry and Rodgers combine effectively as they have done in past victories, and maybe Dane will keep his scoring boots on.

I'm sitting on the fence with 1-1, but I've got a feeling we could take three points. We certainly should, anyway.
Last, but not least, the great You Suck Corrales has this for us:
Honestly I should get out of the prediction game. I am right maybe 20% of the time. I really don't know what's going to happen tonight. However since I am going to be sober tonight I think we might win and not concede a goal. The two games I went to sober this year we are a combined 5 goals for 0 allowed. Hopefully that form holds. I will go 2-0 NYRB.

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