Preview: New York Red Bulls (a).
When? Saturday October 18, 4.00 p.m. PT, 7.00 p.m. ET and 00.00 a.m. (19/10) BST.
Where? Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ.
How can I catch the action? MLS Live on ESPN+, MSG (NY/NJ) and Fox 35 Plus (Orlando) for residents of the United States. DAZN in Canada. The game is currently not scheduled for broadcast in the United Kingdom. The game is available locally, check local listings.
It's all change at Red Bull Arena just now. Gerhard Struber made possibly the most difficult decision anyone has ever had to make: where would I rather live, Barnsley or New York? Yes, I know Red Bull Arena is in the Garden State but it's still a significant upgrade. And that's me being kind. The Austrian has yet to fully take charge, however. The former Wolfsberger AC head coach has yet to receive his Visa, so Bradley Carnell will continue to lead the team in his absence.
These two teams served up a real humdinger of a game 2 weeks ago, let's hope for more of the same.
Red Bull's style
I spoke, in our last preview, about how the Red Bulls are a team that are comfortable out of possession. And that still holds true. Funny how things don't change all that much in two weeks, isn't it? In their last 4 matches, the Red Bulls have had less than 50% of the play in 3 of them. Fort Lauderdale at home being the outlier. A game the Red Bulls lost. At home. Whilst having 57% of the overall play. Seeing a pattern? It's almost as if they are bordering on uncomfortable with the notion of monopolising the ball. This is something that could play in Orlando's hands. When you consider the struggles the Red Bulls have, in breaking teams down, letting them have the ball, and putting them under pressure, mightn't be the worst thing. Especially with how Orlando utilitise the press.
Oscar Pareja's team are still stretched, with a lengthy absentee list. Dom Dwyer, Joao Moutinho, Uri Rosell, Benji Michel, Mauricio Pereyra and Tesho Akindele are all set to miss out. Pedro Gallese and Sebas Mendez are still away on international duty. Matheus Aiás has been medically cleared, and has begun training with the team. It's unclear, at this point, if this game will come a little too soon for the Brazilian, however. Meanwhile, Ruan came through the game against NYCFC unscathed, and should keep his spot at right-back.
As for the Red Bulls, Patrick Seagrist still sits out whilst Omir Fernandez and Ben Mines are both listed as questionable on the official MLS injury report. Aside from those 3 potential absentees and Kaku (international), Bradley Carnell has a full complement of players to choose from.
Possible starting XI
The Red Bulls are probably in a somewhat more advantageous position than Orlando right now, largely due to the numbers they have available. In short, they can afford to switch things up and manage their workload a little more than we can just now. Particularly in midfield. Dru Yearwood partnered Marc Rzatkowski in their last outing. Whilst Sean Davis player the week before.
They also have the likes of Florian Valot, Cristian Cásseres and Ben Mines to call on. We're remarkably stretched in that area. I think the Red Bulls will try and exploit that, by playing fresh legs in the centre. This week, I think Valot gets the nod with Samuel Tetteh in the 10. If he starts, this will be Clark's 3rd consecutive game. The youngster will provide youthful enthusiasm and energy.
The former FC Midtjylland playmaker might have been usurped by 17-year-old Clark in recent weeks, but he's still very much the danger man in this side. He has an irrepressible ability to drift into the area, often unnoticed, to score crucial goals for his team. The experienced attacker has 4 goals and 3 assists from 14 starts and 2 substitute appearances. His record of 29 shots has him placed 2nd in the club's leaderboard, 3 attempts shy of Tom Barlow in 1st. That particular statistic tells you a lot about the sort of player he is. Clark may be hogging the limelight just now, but only a fool would count Royer out.
Orlando City continued their impressive run of form with a hard fought draw with NYCFC, to move to 8-7-2 on the season so far. There have been 6 victories and 5 draws in that time. Orlando sit 4th in the east, 7 points from the summit. They do, however, have a game in hand against 3rd place Columbus. A win in this game will be crucial to maintain their Supporters Shield ambitions.
The Red Bulls, meanwhile, bounced back from successive defeats to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale by accruing 4 points in their last 2 games. A credible 1-0 success over the Plastics from Georgia, courtesy of 17-year-old Caden Clark's volley, was followed up with a road draw against Toronto. The New Jersey based outfit at 7-3-8 on the season and currently sit 7th in the standings, 7 points adrift of that coveted home play-off berth.
*All statistics courtesy of mlssoccer.com
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com