Sunday, May 4, 2014

Matchday: FC Dallas v Red Bulls

It's a Bullfight in Big D!

The Red Bulls take a three-game unbeaten streak down to Dallas this weekend in search of their first road win, where they face the formidable Dallas... um... FCs? Sure. The Dallas FCs, who are sitting third in the West with 16 points on 5 wins and 18 goals over 8 games--a pretty nice ratio. The game kicks off at 3:00pm ET on MSG. Match notes can be found here.

The FCs will be looking much thinner without suspended Zach Loyd and, more importantly, both Michel (suspended) and Mauro Diaz (injury). Red Bull fans should be rejoicing at this state of affairs, but shouldn't get too comfortable as Dallas still boasts plenty of offensive firepower with striker Blas Perez and midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson, each having scored 3 goals like Michel and Diaz. In addition, Toyota Stadium (do they still serve Pizza Hut?) has been a home fortress, seeing 4 wins and just 1 loss.

On the Red Bulls side, things have been looking good as of late, with some beautiful, flowing football against Houston and some good stretches of the same in Columbus. They say the stars at night are big and bright down in Texas, and no star is shining brighter for the Red Bulls than one Bradley Wright Phillips. The MLS Player of the Week has been a veritable offensive supernova, producing 4 goals in the last 2 games, including a hat trick vs. Houston that featured a well-taken penalty. Will he be able to keep going on Sunday?

Another plot line is the recently stabilized RBNY line-up. However Peguy was a ghost last week, so Mike Petke will definitely be tempted to insert the match fit (?) Tim Cahill. It's a tough choice as Cahill is the true team leader and, as we all know, can engineer victories once he gets going. On the other hand, no coach wants to disrupt what's working, and Peguy in the middle has been just that.

Finally, following the rule of threes, how about a game where we don't gift the opposition a penalty? Without the slew of spot kicks, RBNY would be atop the East!

Enough blather! Let's see what the usual gang of idiots has to say!

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) is feeling good:
The Red Bulls put in one of their better performances of the season against the Crew last week. If not for (yet another) boneheaded penalty they could have nabbed all three points. It'll be interesting to see what Petke does now that Cahill is on his way back. I would personally like to see Dax given a game off, because he's been subpar this season. FC Dallas got two red cards last week and have injury concerns to boot. Taking that into account I am going to predict our first road win of the season. 2-0 Red Bulls. BWP continues his hot streak with a goal and Alexander--who I have to admit seems to have found a home on the left side of midfield--gets the other. Robles, who is getting overlooked by Mr. Klinsmann for some unknown reason, keeps a rare clean sheet.

The Big Viper, on the other hand, can't seem to find the good vibes:
With 3 key FC Dallas players out (2 through red cards & 1 through injury) the home team isn't in great shape to receive the visit of the Mighty Red Bulls.  That said, It's the Red Bulls.  They're away and you never know what you're going to get.  I would say there's a greater chance of the Red Bulls giving away a penalty than of getting a victory but I'm not going to get totally negative here and will predict another draw.  Say another 1-1. Hopefully I'm wrong , BWP will get another hat-trick (and score me massive Fantasy points), and we'll get the rare away victory.

As for me, I think if RBNY can manage to score first, we come away with a 2-1 victory. No shutout as Miller or Armando will be the penalty culprit this week.

We'll see you at the Cathedral of Football on May 10 when the Red Bulls take on the Fire. Y'all come back now, ya hear?

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