Photo credit: Chamber Images
Good Afternoon! We're finally back @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita)! It actually seems like several months since our last home game, but we're finally back with as massive a fixture as we can hope for this season. The opponent is The Great Satan itself (or the black shirted evil, if you prefer). That's right, time to call on the exorcist because DC United players, and their douchebag supporters, will defile our Cathedral today with their vile presence (7:00pm ET, NBC Sports Network, match notes here). This showdown of Eastern Conference Titans is a proverbial 6 pointer. A must-win for both sides (mate)! Ok, so let's see how both teams come into this one.
The Red Bulls are in a bit of a funk right now. They've earned 1 point in the two road games after the International break, and must start picking up points if they intend to challenge for the Supporter's Shield. The Red Bulls will, hopefully, still have on their mind the 4-1 humiliation they suffered @DC earlier this season and will look to return the favor. Dane Richards (yellow card accumulation) and Markus Holgersson (injury) will be out, but the RBNY lineup will see the return of Thierry Henry from his "vacation". Rafa Marquez will, most likely, return to the lineup as well. With Red Bull Arena officially -sold-out, can the Red Bulls put DC to the sword? We shall soon see.
DC United is riding a 4 game win streak that has seen it climb to the Eastern Conference summit. The minions of the Dark Lord will know that the Red Bulls will be up for this one and will look to Dwayne DeRosario's hunger for his 100th goal of his career to carry them through this one. Will DC come out on top in this one. Red Bulls fans will certainly hope the answer is no. But nevermind all that, let's get to some predictions!
The great Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
I like the way the Red Bulls fought for a point in Vancouver, but they'll need to be better in order to beat DC. Henry should be back, though Dane Richards will be missing due to yellow card accumulation. We have yet to beat DC Scum in Harrison, so why not Sunday? We are undefeated at home this season and should get a big boost from the crowd and TH14's return. 2-0 Red Bulls, on goals from Henry and Cooper.
The Red Bulls have to win this one, they just have to! Humiliated 1-0 in this fixture last season, by the recently traded to DC Dwayne DeRosario, the Red Bulls should be gunning for revenge. Henry will be on the field and maybe even Rafa Marquez. Both have to earn their DP salaries today, of all days. I'm calling it a very tight 2-1 to RBNY, with goals by TH14 and KFC cancelling out DeRo's 100th of his MLS career.
Homebrew Tim has this for us:
A tough one to call. I liked the way the team looked in Vancouver, so let's inject Rafa into the mix and fuck with our chemistry! DC's goals have been coming from everywhere and our defense, and defensive midfielder, will be put to the test. Rafa better lay out one of his perfect 50-yard passes to Henry's feet to make up for the goal he's sure to give up. Wow, as I reread this I'm realizing how much Rafa brings down my confidence in this side. Imagine having to play along side him!
There are plenty of positives to look at as well. The touted sellout of Red Bull Arena, The Cathedral of Football built by Makita, will create a raucous atmosphere. Henry's return will inject a spark to our offense that's been stale. A win (with a KC draw or loss to the Worms) will put us atop the East. Roy Miller is (finally) rumored to be taking the bench in favor of Heath Pearce. In fact, I will pretty much say this is our preferred XI taking the pitch, though some would argue for the suspended Dane Richards over DJ Jan Gunnar Solli, and I'd rather see Joel in the center, Lade on the left, and Rafa on a plane to Mexico.
Enough rambling... Red Bulls win a 4-2 goalfest. Henry with a brace, Cooper, and Dax putting one in against his former side.
Tom Faust has this for us:
As we approach the Most Important Soccer Game That Ever Has Been or Will Be Played, I'm feeling pretty pessimistic about The Red Bulls' chances after we eked out 1 point from our post-break road trip. Let me count the ways this could break bad: 1-Backe lineup tinkering, 2-back four brain farts, 3-weak finishing, 4-Rafa, 5-Miller, 6-Palsson. I could go on. As much as I would love to get payback for the whupping we took down in the swamp, I don't think it's going to happen. DC is on form, winning its last 4 games and scoring 9 goals in the process. I'm calling it 2-0 for DC and PRAYING that DeRo doesn't score his 100th.
David Kilpatrick (aka Dr.K.) has this for us:
The late heroics in Vancouver will carry over for a confident start v the Scum. The packed house will provide further inspiration and we will cruise to a 5-1 win, as I think we should expect one brain lapse in the back. I expect a lot of chest-thumping as the Bulls want to restore a sense of whose house it is.
Alrighty then! I hope to see you all today @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita). C'mon You Red Bulls!