Saturday, May 28, 2011

Matchday @Vancouver: Whitecaps vs Red Bulls

Photo Credit: Richard Eriksson (via Wikimedia Commons)

Good afternoon! It seems like just yesterday the Red Bulls were playing to a disappointing draw against Colorado @The Cathedral of Football. That one was actually three days ago. Today, our beloved finds itself 3,000 miles away, at Vancouver's Empire Field, for their first ever meeting against the expansion Whitecaps.

To say that Vancouver hasn't started its first MLS season well would be a massive understatement. Canada's second entry into North America's first division currently sits rock bottom of the Western Conference, having won only one game. To say that they're desperate to get back to winning ways would be a massive understatement as well. With a depleted Red Bulls side, however, the Whitecaps will feel the three points are there for the taking.

The Red Bulls are coming off a very disappointing home draw, against a depleted Colorado Rapids team. In fact, our team hasn't won since an April 30th game, against Sporting KC. Several key players will be missing from the Red Bulls lineup today, chief of which are Thierry Henry (sore knee), Rafa Marquez & Dane Richards (both due to International duty). Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, who had the game of his life on Wednesday, will miss this one due to his ongoing visa issues. The Red Bulls roster is so depleted that today's game notes list midfielder Matt Kassel as a probable starter. This is definitely the start of a difficult run for the Red Bulls and, after dropping 2 points on Wednesday, they'll feel three points are a must today. With all that in mind, let's get to some predictions!

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
It's hard to feel too optimistic coming off the draw against Colorado, but even with the players RBNY is missing they should be able to get a result against Vancouver. Against my better judgment I am going to predict a 2-1 Red Bulls victory, with goals by DeRo and Lindpere.
I'm going to predict a Red Bulls win in this one - just to be positive. With several key players out, I'm going to predict everyone else brings it up a notch and the Red Bulls can eke out a 1-0.

Homebrew Tim has this for us:
I'm finding it hard to be optimistic about this team until they give me reason to be, but I'll try: Last week we scored two beautiful goals while giving up two garbage goals, neither in the run of play. OK, that's it for my optimism.

It'll be an interesting starting XI today, with Dane and Rafa gone, and Ballouchy unable to cross the border into Canada. Sounds like we'll have a center back pairing of Ream and Keel, with Mendes on the right and Solli moving up to the midfield. None of this is necessarily bad, though. I'll be taking a deep breath, crossing my fingers, and hoping we come out of Vancouver with all 3 points. Red Bulls win 2-1. DeRo and Agudelo will each give us a goal to remember them by while they're are on National Team duty. Agudelo's goal on a long assist from Ream, and DeRo puts in a beautiful cross from Solli. I hope. As a great man once said, "Defeatism is punishable by death!"
Our man in the UK, Glenn Williams, has this for us:
It's time for the Red Bulls to snap out of this mini-slump. Disappointing draws just wont do for a team which should be sweeping teams aside. If we can't beat Vancouver Whitecaps we might as well give up. The Canadians have been entertaining at times, without ever really convincing they're capable of much this season. Even without Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Dane Richards, we should have plenty of talent to take three points. I have to hope that after dropping so many points in the last month Backe has looked long and hard at the problems and addressed them. I'm gonna opt for a 2-0 (Red Bulls) win, with hints of a brighter future and return of that form that impressed us in the early weeks.
OK, that's it for now. Everyone enjoy their Holiday weekend! Viper Out!
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