Photo credit: Julian Gaviria
Good Morning! It's matchday @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita) and our Red Bulls are facing, not one, but two opponents today. First off, they're taking on the Chicago Fire in MLS action (1:00pm ET, MSG+, match notes here). Their biggest opponent today, however, might be the mid-July heat, as temperatures at the 1:00pm kickoff are projected to be near 100F, with a heat index of 105F. I've lived through one of these games, back in 2003, and to say it wasn't fun would be an understatement. This game is a business decision that's so massively ill advised, even the great Thierry Henry couldn't help but voice his displeasure this week. With all that in mind, let's see how both teams come into this one.
The Chicago Fire currently sit in 4th place of MLS' Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Red Bulls. The Fire is coming off a massive, shorthanded, win over visiting Vancouver midweek and will be looking for full points to take them 3rd in the East. With the Fire offense finally finding its rhythm, the windy city boys will like their chances today.
The Red Bulls will have to manage with a depleted roster, as Marquez, Meara, Pearce and Solli are definite no-gos. The good news is that Thierry Henry, who was doubtful for this one earlier in the week, has been given the green light to play. The newly acquired Bill Gaudette will, once again, stand in for Ryan Meara in goal and the just-as-recently-arrived Sebastien LeToux will hope to add another goal to his RBNY account. Can the Red Bulls hold survive the heat and hold off the potent Chicago attack? We can only hope the answer is: yes. But nevermind all that, let's get to some predictions:
Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
We never seem to play well in withering heat. I recall last year's away game in Chicago, when we seemed to sleepwalk through 90 minutes. The home game vs. Dallas was another example - we needed a golazo from Henry to pull out a result that day. Chicago always plays us tight. I can't see a lot of scoring given the conditions, so I'll say 1-1, with a Cooper goal offset by one from Marco Pappa.
This game has disaster written all over it! Why would anyone schedule any game, in the middle of July, at 1:00PM? It's beyond insanity! Red Bulls management, obviously, weren't around for that Midweek Nooner at Giants stadium, back in August of 2003, where temperatures on the field were just shy of 120 degrees. The heat will kill us and Chicago will come away with a 1-0 win.
Homebrew Tim has this for us:
0-0 draw. Those of us who attend, while we are receiving our saline IVs in the emergency room following the match, will wonder if it was worth attending.
Tom Faust has this for us:
I am really looking forward to monitoring this game from the air conditioned comfort of my office. It's never a good sign when the players are complaining about the heat a week in advance, even though they are totally justified. It will be interesting to see whether the league allows water breaks to avoid the PR disaster of players passing out on the pitch, and whether that would make any difference in quality of play. Sadly, looking at recent form of both teams, I feel like this is a pretty even match, and am calling it 1-1.
David Kilpatrick (aka Dr.K.) has this for us:
We need to at least preserve our point ahead of Chicago in the table and in this matinee "experiment," don't think we'll see much attack from either side. I'm betting the palest man on the pitch, Dax, will claw us to a 1:0 home win. Maybe we can take advantage of Friedrich's suspension and Le Toux will enjoy posting up w his long-lost twin. It's really a question of service, of whether or not we can sustain possession while creating opportunities. Even if Henry sits this out (likely), we still should have the firepower up front to beat the Fire in the heat.
Alrighty then! Let's hope there aren't any serious heat related problems for either the player or fans in attendance. Hope to see you all @The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena (built by Makita). Viper Out!