Saturday, April 14, 2012

Matchday @Red Bull Arena: Red Bulls vs Earthquakes

Photo credit: courtesy of Chamber Images

Good afternoon! It's matchday @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita)! This time, the Red Bulls face off against the Western Conference powerhouse San Jose Earthquakes (7:00pm ET, MSG+, game notes here). It's the one and only regular season meeting for both clubs this year and both would love to take all three points on offer. With that said, let's see how both clubs come into this one.

The Red Bulls just made a bit of history, after running rampant @Columbus, by becoming the first MLS team to win three games in a row by at least 3 goals. League leading scorer Thierry Henry (7 goals) also made a bit of history by becoming the first MLS player to win Player of The Week honors three weeks in row. With the news that both central defender Wilman Conde and defensive midfielder Teemu Tainio will be out for an extended period, it looks like the Red Bulls defense will face a severe test tonight in keeping San Jose's clinical finisher, Chris Wondolowski, off the score board. My guess is that RBNY will need it's Henry/Cooper one-two punch to propel it to victory tonight.

The Earthquakes come into this one also riding a three game win streak. Their leading scorer, Chris Wondolowski (6 goals in 5 games), will be looking to come up big in the shoot-out that this game promises to become. He'll need all the help he can get, however, as San Jose has a couple of key players listed as doubtful due to injury. Can the Earthquakes use their defensive advantage to snuff out the potent RBNY offense? We shall find out tonight but, right now, let's get to some predictions!

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
If we weren't scoring for fun right now, I'd be more worried about this game against San Jose. As it stands, however, Thierry Henry and KFC are on fire. Even missing Wilman Conde and a few other pieces, we should beat an overachieving Quakes team at RBA. 3-1 win. Goals by Henry, Richards and - yes - Ballouchy.
I just saw a facebook post, by my colleague Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam), where he stated: "No Lenhart, no Gordon. We got this!". All I can say to that is: Way to jinx it brother! In true Metro/Red Bull fashion, it's always when we think that "we got this" that we suffer some sort of embarrassing loss.

In the interest of positivity, however, I will refrain from prediction such a loss and will say that the Red Bulls will extend their winning streak today with a 2-1 victory (TH14 and KFC). I don't think the Keel/Holgersson backline can keep Wondo off the scoresheet, but we'll come out of this one with all 3 points on offer (I hope).

Tom Faust has this for us:
I was (happily) proven wrong last week when I foresaw a 2-1 loss. This week will be tough but there's no denying the run of form, and San Jose has their own injury troubles, including a banged up Alan Gordon. I expect Wondo to grab at least one, but think Red Bull will pull out a solid 3-1 win thanks to some brilliance from Meara.
David Kilpatrick (aka Dr.K.), who attended Red Bulls practice yesterday, has this for us:
Spoke w Hans a couple hours ago and he's really concerned about all the injuries but the squad looked loose and sharp. I'm calling for a 4-2 win but hoping for 5-2 to extend the 3 goal win streak.
Alrighty then! Look for our Award Winning coverage of this one in the next day, or two. I hope to see you all today @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita). Viper Out!
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