Saturday, August 20, 2011

Matchday @Gillette: Revolution vs Red Bulls

Photo credit: Chamber Images

Good afternoon! It's do-or-die time for the Red Bulls, up at Gillette Stadium, as they visit the Revolution (7:30pm ET, MSG), with the always-up-for-Red Bulls-killing Shalrie Joseph in fine form. To say that both teams need the points today is as massive an understatement as anyone can make. That said, let's see how both these struggling clubs come into this one.

The Revolution are mired second from bottom of the Eastern Conference, on 22 points, with the standings showing just Chicago on fewer points (21). With their starting goalkeeper suspended, the Revs will call on backup Bobby Shuttleworth to come up big against RBNY. The Revs, who play their second game in 4 days, will also be without three key players (Coria, Dube & Nyassi), who are listed as out of this one.

The Red Bulls come into this one in full panic mode. This game has been deemed by none other than Thierry Henry as a must win but RBNY will have to do that in the house of horrors known as Gillette Stadium. The Red Bulls, in fact, haven't won at "The Razor" since way back in June, 2002. Going back to the inagural MLS season, failure in Foxborough is almost a given.

With newest DP Frank Rost sidelined, goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul gets another shot at making the starting position his own. The RBNY backline, including possible Arsenal target Tim Ream (pictured above), gets another chance at redemption, after two league games of massive ineptitude. Head coach Hans Backe believes 5 wins (15 points) will get the Red Bulls into the playoffs. With 9 games to go (including this one), and their fate largely out of their hands, the Red Bulls must pick up full points today. That said, let's get to some predictions!

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
I'll predict - what else? - a draw. It has been something like 9 years since we won a game at Foxboro - a league game at least. We seem unable and/or unwilling to step on the throat of opponents we should beat. Call it 0-0 and massive frustration.
I have to predict a loss. I'm betting Shalrie has been fantasizing all week about how he's going to kill the Red Bulls this time. He missed a penalty this year, @The Cathedral of Football, and will be looking to make amends. Shuttleworth will 'stand on his head' and have several massive saves. Shalrie scores one and gets an assist. Final: Revolution 2, Red Bulls 0. Prove me wrong RBNY.

Homebrew Tim has this for us:
It's a must-win, in a stadium where we never win. Going for us, we have the better team (on paper) and they have an unimpressive backup keeper. However, there are lots of matches we've played this year where we had the advantage on paper. On the pitch, it's another story. Last week, we saw how much better the team played when Richards was in his natural position on the right, and Ballouchy was off the pitch. But, with Solli out of tonight's match, you just know we're going to see the "Richards Up Top" experiment yet again, and that Backe will seemingly move heaven and earth to find a spot for Ballouchy every week--the guy must look like a soccer god in training, or has pictures of Uncle Dietrich drinking a Monster energy drink, or something. Add to our woes that Henry will find himself on Field Turf tonight and you have a recipe for disappointment yet again.

I'd call for an outright loss, but since 1 point is basically the same as 0 points for us now, and given that yet another draw almost feels worse than a loss now, I'm calling for a 1-1 draw. Agudelo scores after being subbed in the 64th. Henry will play the full 90 than hobble around, crippled by the turf he hates so much, for the remainder of the season. And the Red Bulls players will confidently be able to lock down their vacation plans. Please prove me wrong, boys!
Dan Dickinson has this for us:
I somehow have regained a bit of optimism in light of looking at the stats for Bobby Shuttleworth, who will be between the posts for NE since Reis is out on a red card. 0-2-1 this season, 2.0 GAA, 60% save rate. He was the one we faced in the 2-0 home closer last year as well. So barring some nonsense like Thierry coming down with "flu-like symptoms" because this is a game on turf, or Bouna pissing off Backe and we end up with another pool goalkeeper, I'm voting for a blowout win - call it 3-0 (to RBNY - But I won't be surprised if we tie).
David Kilpatrick (aka Dr.K.) has this for us:
We'll win, 1-4, a brace from Titi and one a piece from Lindpere and Agudelo.
Alright! We'll be all over this one in the coming day, or two. Viper Out!
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