Saturday, September 15, 2012

Matchday @Red Bull Arena: Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew

A Sight for Sore Eyes: The Cathedral, In All Its Glory
Good morning! After a loooooong international break, the Red Bulls return to action against the surging Columbus Crew in a massive game of Eastern Conference titans (7:00pm ET, MSG, match notes can be found here). The last time these two clubs met was way back on April 7, with the Red Bulls destroying the boys in black and gold 4-1. That road result was a huge surprise to the supporters who will be hoping for the same tonight. The Crew will be fighting to retain the final East playoff spot and the Red Bulls seek to gain ground on Kansas City. History teaches us nothing as the clubs are dead even at 23-23-7. 

Despite the break, the Red Bulls may have some players weary from international duty, including Cahill, Gaudette and Lindpere. However, all are expected to be available, as is Rafa Marquez who stated this week he is "hungry" to play. Then again, we've heard this before. Also in the fold is new addition Kaka...'s younger brother Rodrigo “Digão” Leite. Regardless of whether this is Soler playing the long con to bring Digao's famous brother aboard, you have to like the option of a 6'4" defender--that's 2" taller than Holgersson.

Looks like the Crew know that shutting down Dax is the key to beating the Red Bulls. Hopefully, that will be easier said than done. If the Crew end up winning, odds are that Federico Higuain will be the reason. The Argie has been phenomenal with three goals and six assists in just six games. Hopefully rumors of a heel sprain are true.

One piece of potential good news is that Crew defender Josh Williams may have suffered a head injury based on this quote about the Red Bulls: "I think they have the best style of play. They always play well. They always keep possession..."

Without further adieu, let's get to the predictions!

Big Viper starts us off on a positive tip:
I believe that we will win... And only because this is a home fixture. The only thing that worries me is that our glorious football club has had more than two weeks off. I know that DJ Solli flew off to do a gig in Barcelona and only the Nordic Gods know what clubs the others have been hitting in NYC. I'm betting that some of these guys went from Webster Hall straight to the Montclair University practice pitch a few times in the last couple of weeks. I'm counting on the great Thierry Henry to come up with some magic in this one. I'm gonna go with a 1-Nil to the RBNY.

Who Shot Sam (aka Matt Conroy) is another believer this week:
I will be entertaining my lady in a luxury box on Saturday, so the Red Bulls better f***ing win or there's going to be hell to pay. I don't want that classy vibe spoiled by some weak-ass performance on the field. So come on boys - don't let me down. We haven't lost at home all year and I don't want to see it happen against some country-ass team like Cowlumbus. 2-0 Red Bulls. Henry and Holgy (!) score. If this does not happen, there will be a sternly-worded letter sent to a certain Mr. Backe.
The inimitable Dr. K keeps it short and sweet:
With the Interlull behind us, now's the time for the Great Push to the Playoffs, if not the Surge to the Shield. The Bulls will be fresh and hungry, happy to be back at Riverbend. The weather will be perfect and the home side won't disappoint. NY 3-0 C'bus.
Homebrew Tim also sees a win:
We came out flat after the last FIFA break and I suspect we will again. But, I'm going against my own instincts to predict a win. 2-1 RBNY. I don't know who, or how, but we manage to prevail... it's still a little too early for our hopes to be dashed. Give it a few more weeks
As inspiring as those words are, I can't share the love. Aside from The Venezuelan Villain, Emilio Renteria--the non-Magee MLSer I most loathe--being on the pitch, I am VERY worried about Higuain. His free kicks and incisive passing are tailor made to beat the Red Bulls' lax defense. Add on-form striker Arrieta and I see the Crew hanging two on us. Let's hope Sam shows some sizzle on the right side and call it a 2-2 draw.

And finally, before we see you tonight at the Cathedral of Football, here's an opponent fun fact:
Columbus resident Luis Orozco was the only entrant in a month long contest to suggest that the team be named "The Columbus Crew."
So that explains it. C'MON YOU RED BULLS!

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