And we're back! Yes, New York Red Bulls Time is here again and I, for one, can't be more 'Over The Moon' and 'Chuffed' than I already am. It's opening day, of the season when we finally win MLS Cup, and our beloved team kicks it all off with a monumental match away @FC Dallas (3:00pm ET, NBC Sports Network).
The Red Bulls come into this game focused and riding a bit of a win streak against FC Dallas. You might recall that our team won @Dallas in a Wild-Card Playoff game last October and also defeated Schellas Hyndman's minions this pre-season. French Talisman Thierry Henry has returned from his Arsenal loan stint in fine form and the team has acquired much useful depth this off-season. With many questions still not answered, RBNY head coach Hans Backe will be looking to prove that the disappointing 2011 season was a fluke. He'll also be looking to prove the usual pundits, who have already doomed RBNY to failure, wrong. With Rafa Marquez suspended for this one, Luke Rodgers still stuck in England and rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara making his MLS debut, the Red Bulls will have to dig deep to get the job done today.
FC Dallas come into this one looking for revenge. Ousted from the 2011 playoffs by RBNY, the hoops will feel a sense of urgency to get a positive result today. Unlucky to still be without their midfield maestro, David Ferreira, Dallas will look for something special from rising star Brek Shea. Can Schellas Hyndman's game plan stop a possible Henry/Agudelo partnership? Can Dallas hope to spoil the homecoming of a resurgent Kenny Cooper? We will find out in just a few hours time.
But never mind all that right now, let's get to some predictions!
Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
It's been a long, long pre-season, or at least it's seemed that way. Despite a few losses down in Arizona, the Red Bulls have looked pretty composed. I'd still like to see more creativity from the midfield, but I guess that will have to wait for now. At the back, RBNY has been pretty solid, but let's face it - how could they be worse than last year? With two away games in Dallas and Salt Lake City, MLS has probably given us the most difficult start of any MLS team (thanks again, Don), so I hope that fans don't start reaching for the razor blades if we come home without too much to show for it. It's a long season.Wow! That's a massive prediction, from the always pessimistic Matt ;) I'm going to be optimistic as well and predict a Red Bulls victory, let's say 2-0. The former Pizza Hut Park is one place were the Red Bulls have been able to get good away results and I don't see that ending today. Two goals from newly acquired Kenny Cooper see the Red Bulls earn all three points on offer today.
We started strong last season and faded badly, remember? As for the opener, we always seem to play tough, tight games against FC Dallas, and I expect this one to be no different. FCD, however, may well without David Ferreira and George John. On the other hand, we'll be missing Conde, Marquez (well, maybe "missing" doesn't apply to him) and Rodgers. Still, I like us to get a point out of this match or maybe even more. What the hell. I'll go with a 2-1 Red Bulls win. Shea with Dallas' goal, but Henry and Lindpere will "open their accounts" for the Red Bulls.
Resident TVN Roster/Salary Cap guru Homebrew Tim has this for us:
The Red Bulls have never lost to Dallas under the Soler/Backe regime. While my head is saying that we hang on for a draw, my heart's optimism abounds on Opening Day. Your New York Red Bulls begin the Road to the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup with a 2-1 victory in Dallas. Joel and Henry find the back of the net.My God! The optimism abounds! Finally, the great You Suck Corrales has this for us:
The season is on the line! I can imagine the calls for Backe's head if we don't win. On the bright side, Rafa is suspended - which should help in midfield. And Dallas seems to be one of the few places where we can get a result. I am calling for a 2-0 RBNY victory with goals be Henry and Cooper.Ok, well, after so many predictions of victory, you know we're going to lose (ha, ha). But let's hope for the best and will our team to victory. Git In There Lads!