|Fun Fact: The Sub In This Ad Shares Many Features With RBNY's Tyler Ruthven|
Back safe and sound in the crystal clear waters of the mighty Passaic River, SUB WATCH returns for Week 6 as the New York Red Bulls take on the San Jose Earthquakes’ stingy D and their star striker Chris Wondolowski. How will this tough opponent and more injury woes impact Backe’s sub strategy? Let’s find out. A reminder: SUB WATCH is for informational purposes only. Wager at your own risk!
But first, some old business: By conservative estimates SUB WATCH readers took home hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars by heeding last week’s tip that Lindpere could make his first appearance as a sub after “The African Assassin,” Mehdi Ballouchy, took his starting spot. Not only did Lindpere come on in the 80th minute for Dane Richards, he had a nice assist on Henry’s end-of-game blast. You’re welcome.
With the Red Bulls on a winning and scoring tear like none in recent history, you’d think the sub activity would be low. Unfortunately, the injuries have continued which means new starters and new sub options. The biggest injury blow is Wilman Conde’s extended sit. It’s highly probable that Keel will start at left center back in his stead.
What happens if Holgy or Solli take a knock during the game? One scenario is the D shifts right and Connor Lade makes his first MLS appearance at left or left center back. However, SUB WATCH believes it's more likely that Rafa Marquez--assuming he starts in midfield--would shift to the back line and Palsson or Barklage would come on in the midfield. Barklage has a slight edge based on past decisions and performance.
Rafa could start in the back four with a midfield of Dax, Mehdi, Joel and Dane. Which would make Keel the 1st choice defensive sub, so he still holds some value.
In more midfield action, with Tainio injured and a successful Ballouchy experiment last week, it’s a choice between Dax and Joel Lindpere in the XI. I give the edge to Lindpere, but would stay away from this. More important is to SELL Ballouchy as it looks like he’ll be starting for a while.
SUB WATCH WILD CARD: Tyler Ruthven
Based on almost zero actual knowledge--and all of that secondhand--Ruthven has performed okay in the reserves, scoring at least one goal. Could he see playing time? Probably not, but Ruthven could be worth a HOLD if you’ve already picked him up. Strikers Arteaga and Angulo have also looked good but, short of an unfortunate meteor strike, TH14 and KFC aren’t going anywhere.
Finally, a look at season numbers. I expect the first sub season low to hold at 45’ No real reason to think about a first-half sub, barring injury. Same for the season low last sub of 46’.
Last week only one tactical sub in 80' brings the season over/under to 71’. Five of 11 subs have been UNDER that mark, and with the current chaos, the UNDER looks like a good buy at the right price. At the same time, however, we could see a new high first sub, currently at 86’. Backe doesn’t have a lot of options and doesn’t have a lot of confidence in those, so he’ll be hoping the starting XI go the distance. Good luck on this one, punters.
We’ll see you back here next week!