Saturday, August 13, 2011

Matchday @Red Bull Arena: Red Bulls vs Fire

Photo credit: Chamber Images

Good afternoon! Another massive, massive home fixture (7:30pm ET, MSG) as the Red Bulls absolutely must win today against the struggling Chicago Fire. Both teams are in need of wins, with Chicago needing all three points more than the Red Bulls. That said, let's examine how both teams come into this one.

Chicago finds itself dead last in MLS' Eastern Conference (19 points) and hasn't won a League game since way back on June 12th. That's 2 months, and 8 League games, without a win. With 12 games left in their schedule (including today's game), and 36 points still to be had, they're still very much alive in the playoff hunt. They'll have to start today and what better team to do it against than the NY Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls find themselves tied for third in the East, with only 10 games left in their season. Under-fire (no pun intended) Red Bulls Head Coach Hans Backe will hope that last week's disaster, @RSL, can be quickly forgotten. He'll also be hoping that some of Juan Agudelo's USMNT confidence makes it's way into Red Bull Arena tonight. With this game reportedly sold out, and the great RBA crowd behind the team, the Red Bulls will have no excuses for not taking all three points today. Let's hope the panic button has been pushed and the team reacts accordingly. With all that in mind, let's get to some predictions.

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
We've drawn 12, Chicago has drawn 13. There's is no team, no matter how awful, that RBNY cannot make look respectable. The only sensible prediction here is a draw, with the Red Bulls going up early and then looking like the walking dead in the second half. I'll give our goal to Henry, a player I've criticized a lot in the past, but who has shown that he at least gives a damn. Chicago will score as a result of a Tim Ream or Bouna Condoul howler, sometime after the 80th minute, when it's too late for us to respond. The Fire's goal scorer will be Orr Barrouch or some other player we've barely heard of. Hans Backe will offer his usual post-game platitudes and we'll be off to New England. Ho hum.
I'm going to be positive here and predict a hard fought draw, either 0-0 or 1-1. That's as positive as I can get with this team. Will be hoping for a massive RBNY goleada but I have to be realistic.

Homebrew Tim has this for us:
Chicago is a team we clearly should beat at home, but with 25 draws between the two teams, how can I pick anything else? Well, here's how. I'm a perpetual optimist. I'm putting reality aside and going with my gut, which says we find a way tonight. Look, we have to find a way to keep stringing our hopes along for a few more weeks at least. So, I'm saying 2-1 Red Bulls, Richards and Henry.
Dan Dickinson has this for us:
I talk fairly regularly, via an MLS community, to a Chicago Fire fan. Every weekend, we both watch our respective teams play with a certain level of dread, and we both sound exactly the same on Monday mornings - sighing about draws, wondering where our offense is, chewing out the coaching staff, lamenting how we can give up so many points in one season. If there are two fan bases feeling the same, it's RBNY and Chicago. So Mark, this one's for you.

Chicago has not been able to score more than two goals in league play since their home opener against Kansas City - but they've also only given up more than two goals twice this season (oddly, against both expansion sides). I'll also go with a 1-1 result, on a Richards rocket and a PK given up by Roy Miller.
David Kilpatrick (aka Dr. K.) has this for us:
Brace for Titi and another from Lindpere. We win 3-1.
That's all for now. Look for our Award Winning coverage of this one in the next day or two. Hope to see you all @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita). Viper Out!

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