After two straight west coast road matches, the Red Bulls return to banks of the Passaic to face an FC Dallas squad that's posted impressive draws against 2009 playoff teams Houston and Columbus. What Dallas is missing in home support it has in scoring threats Jeff Cunningham, Atiba Harris, and David Ferriera. FCD also has a lot of momentum, winning 5 of 6 to end last season, plus the two draws so far in 2010. While two goals allowed (only one by the opposition) in three matches is a nice defensive streak, New York needs to find some offense, and soon.. Angel is still looking for his first tally, and the Red Bulls need to develop their attack up the center of the field, not just provide service the wings. Will New York keep the home mojo going? Let's dig into the two sides and see how they match up:
Record, League Position, and Recent Form:
New York, 6 points from 3 matches, +0 GD, 4th, LWW
FC Dallas, 2 points from 2 matches, +0 GD, 14th, DD
Dallas' front line vs. the Red Bulls defense:
Jeff Cunningham and David Ferriera vs. Roy Miller, Mike Petke, Tim Ream and Jeremy Hall (and Bouna Coundoul). Cunningham scored on a pk last week v the Crew to open his 2010 account, and even at age 33, is always a scoring threat. Colombian international Ferriera was a majority contributor last season (8g/7a). Coundoul needs to move past his gaffe at Chivas last week and show the his club that he can be counted on. Hall remains a liability against speedy attackers like Harris, but Ream and Petke in the middle are solid. Slight Advantage: New York
New York's attackers vs. the Hoops' defense:
Juan Pablo Angel and Salou Ibrahim vs. Health Pearce, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, and Jair Benitez (and Kevin Hartman). The JPA goal drought reached three matches last week, and without quality service, will extend into another week. Angel has yet to get the ball at his feet or front of him to run on, which is what he needs to score. I have Ibrahim getting the nod up front. The Belgian did well in a substitution role last week. Hartman still has it, and FCD will pack the back on the road, hoping for a draw. Advantage: Dallas
Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Mac Kandji, and Seth Stammler vs. Dax McCarty, former Metro Daniel Hernandez, Atiba Harris, and Brek Shea. With new signing Brian Nielsen about to join the club, this may be the last week Richards gets the starting nod. Lindpere needs to push the attack through the center of the field to be effective. Robinson may be ready to play in D-mid for New York. For Dallas, McCarty has a national-team career ahead of him, and Harris (at 6'3") will put pressure on the Red Bulls' centerbacks. Hernandez gets a warm welcome in his return to NY. Slight Advantage: Dallas
Hans Backe was publicly critical of his team's effort against Chivas last week. Until reinforcements come in, Backe has to press his team's need to take home points. How New York rebounds from last week's loss will be telling. Schellas Hyndman has "all the players on board" as Buzz Carrick said on this week's podcast. Despite not winning yet in 2010, he has his team playing with confidence Advantage: Dallas
While Red Bull Arena may be loud, it could be a lot more empty than the last home game as Dallas offers little in terms of drawing power. The weather may play to the Estonian Express' advantage, with a forecast of drizzle and the mid-40s by game time. Getting the first goal tomorrow night will be key. If Coundoul allows a soft goal, it may get ugly Advantage: Push
While NY's offense has been suspect, defending is the club's strength. Dallas comes in aiming for a point, and with goals by Harris and Lindpere, that's just what they'll get. A 1-1 draw.
#TBT Hattricks for KC.
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