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Match preview: Union at Red Bulls

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

What: Union at Red Bulls

Where: New Jersey

When: 8pm EST

Why: Because they have it coming

TV: ESPN2

Radio: is not an option, apparently

The New York Red Bulls need to win on Thursday. They need it really bad.

Their best player is suspended, their season is on the brink, they traded away the presumptive MLS MVP, their young stud striker can’t break the starting lineup, their designated player keeps stabbing Tim Ream in the back instead instead of playing in the back, their “goalies” keep showing up for practice and asking what their hands are for again, Mehdi Ballouchy, Dax McCarty and Teemu Taino won’t take the Michael Farfan posters off their walls, people won’t come watch them play, MLS is going to make them irrelevant when the league’s 20th franchise is announced, their trophy case is empty, Dame Richards wants to be a striker when he’s just a travel-sized Damarcus Beasley, Hans Backe is going to continue making no adjustments of any sort under any circumstances for at least one more year, they can’t buy another Thierry Henry this winter, despite being the second highest scoring team in MLS they have a league-high 16 ties, the Chicago Fire might finish above them in the standings, they don’t have the Yankees to blame for being ignored this year, Harrison is in New Jersey, they are named after an energy drink that you drink while “doing sports,” and now the team they expected to push around for a few years is coming to town with their playoff ticket already stamped and one win away from an Eastern Conference crown.

So what do the Red Bulls say?

In between sips of Earl Grey, Luke Rodgers says, “I’m quite positive we’re going to win the game, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

“Cheerio, off to mill the fortnight ‘cross the moor, wot wot!” he added.

Philly is expected to have a huge inferiority complex when it compares itself to New York. But come on. We put our soccer team on the waterfront, they put theirs in another state. Wait, they put most of their teams in another state! Yeah, it’s an old complaint, but it sure seems like a good one when you just keep doing it. Thank goodness the New Jersey Nets, the only team Jersey had that was actually named after the state, are leaving… for New York! It’s like sports dyslexia is running rampant just a few miles up I-95.

We offered our intellectual and disaffected take on the rivalry earlier this week. So suffice to say that the NY-Philly showdown is a showcase of everything that MLS did wrong when it started against everything it has since figured out. Philly was built through shrewd personnel decisions and the hiring of a coach who—love, hate, respect, or fear him—makes his players work as a team. New York was thrown together through trades and designated players stitched together with money.

If someone asks you why you love the Union, what do you say? Maybe you love watching the young guys develop. Maybe you love how hard the best player works. Maybe you love how Danny Califf has lost a step but gained respect. Maybe you love the way Faryd Mondragon embraced the team and the city simultaneously. Maybe you love the way the rookies pushed the vets this year. Maybe you love that the players thank the fans after every game. Maybe you love that a team without superstars completed the biggest single season points turnaround in MLS history. Maybe you love the sweet sounds of JP Dellacamera’s seeminglyendlessohmygodhewon’tstoptalking banter.

Maybe you just love reading Peter Nowak’s tweets.

The point is, this team was born from love. And when Union fans travel to New Jersey to see New York, the Red Bulls supporter(s) will hear them coming.

Make it loud, make it proud, make it a first place finish!

Starting Lineups

Union

The Dragon, The Sheanomenon, The Kaiser, The Fightin’ Bearfight, The Garfan, The Rat, The Marfan, The Freddy, The Mappattack, The MwanGenius, Le Touch

Red Bulls

Rost, Solli, Keel, Ream, Miller, Richards, Marquez, Taino, Lindpere, Rodgers, Agudelo

Subs

Union

Unpre Dictable, Magic Eightball

Red Bulls

Auvray, notHenry

Injuries

Union

OUT: Holder, Houapeu, Paunovic (hammy); DOUBTFUL: Tait (ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MacMath (ankle)

Red Bulls

OUT: Albright (calf), Hot (knee surgery); Robinson (knee contusion); Jones (knee sprain)

Suspended

Red Bulls

Thierry Henry

Suspended next yellow

Union

Valdes

Red Bulls

Lindpere, Miller, Richards, Rodgers

Last time I thought about Keon Daniel

All the time

Pre-game Geiger counter

He’s baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Misc

  • The Union are 2-1 against New York all-time.
  • Neither team has lost when leading at halftime.
  • The Union have one win when trailing at halftime; New York has none.
  • The Red Bulls make Philly look positively fantastic at defending corner kicks. They have allowed 10 goals off corners this season.
  • They have also given up 5 goals off indirect free kicks. Too bad the Union are poor in the air and missing Pauno

6 Comments

  1. Hey, if Valdes gets a yellow in this game, does the suspension count in the playoffs? Presumably it does, but does anyone know for sure?

  2. Hey Jer!

    Ironically, the best description of how the yellow card suspension system works vis-a-vis the playoffs in on the DC United website:
    http://www.dcunited.com/news/injuries-discipline

    Red cards carry a suspension but yellow card accumulation does not. Valdes should be good to go!

  3. Nets the only Jersey team? The Devils would like a word with you.

  4. Are you kiding me? Torres at the 70th minute? Adu playing at all? Farfan starting at striker and no Mwanga till 2nd half. FIRE NOWAK NOW !!!

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