After dropping their season opener to Toronto FC at home, the New York Red Bulls will now travel north to play the Montreal Impact. Coming off a flying pre-season, where the team looked very convincing, the Red Bulls found out that the rest of the MLS is now in tune, and will plan for their style of play, as shown by their defeat to a defensively organized, and extremely opportunistic Toronto FC team.
Here are three hopes and one fear for the Red Bulls as they get ready to play their second game of the season
Progressing to the next level
Following last season’s Supporter Shield winning campaign, and returning all but one starter from last year, the Red Bulls entered the 2016 season as one of MLS Cup contenders. As a contender the Red Bulls should expect opposing teams to have a specific game plan to neutralize the high pressure, fast combination pace of the Red Bulls. Opposing teams will compact the middle of the field to close off passing lanes, and to give little room for the midfield three to operate. The Red Bulls will have to progress into different variations of their style of play, if they are to beat teams who will certainly have their game plan well rehearsed.
Shutting down Piatti
Didier Drogba wont be playing in the Big “O” this weekend, but he is not the only influential piece this Montreal team has. Ignacio Piatti had a stellar season opener in Montreal’s away win against Vancouver tallying 2 goals and 1 assist. The Argentine “playmaker” will be looking to lead Montreal’s attack past the Red Bulls with the help of a couple former Red Bulls — center forward Oduro, who also opened his season tally last week, and midfielder Eric Alexander.
On Thursday the Red Bulls received word from the MLS offices that the disciplinary committee had decide to suspend Ronald Zubar for 1 game following a dangerous tackle on a Toronto FC player. As a result, Montreal native Karl Ouimette, will feature along side newcomer Gideon Baah. Baah who had an impressive performance in his MLS debut, will need another solid performance, especially with the less experienced Ouimette at his side. The full backs will also need to be on their game, with teams clogging up the middle of the field, it will be up to the full backs to create mismatches with overlapping runs and good services, something that the Red Bulls didn’t do as much as they should have.
Although it is extremely early in the season, and the Red Bulls confidence seemed untouched by their loss to Toronto FC, it is important to get back in the win column for Jesse Marsch’s men. If there is a trademark this Red Bulls team is known for is unity, and it’s not a 2 game losing streak that is going to shake the team’s confidence, but a loss will certainly bring a certain level of pressure this early on, especially when the team is still trying to get to optimal season levels, and have difficult match ups against Houston(h), New England(a) and Sporting KC(h) as their next 3 matches.
The Red Bulls had the second best road record last season(6–7–4), and were the only team with a favorable goal differential on the road. That trend should continue as home teams will be less inclined to go into a defensive posture in front of their own fans, as opposed to when they play at Red Bull Arena. Historically the Red Bulls have had success against the Impact, and are currently riding a six game undefeated run against Montreal(4W-2T).
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