New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution
The Red Bulls are hoping to rebound after a hard-fought loss to Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night. The Revs are coming off a more positive result, but were unable to leave a mark on the scoreboard. A scoreless draw on the road against the Seattle Sounders left New England with five points through five games.
This matchup has huge potential to be a one-sided affair. Three points separate these teams in the standings. But the two are separated by much more than that in nearly every statistical category.
The Red Bulls have outscored (9-1), outshot (115-37) and created 57 more chances than the Revolution (88-31). But there is one statistical category that should be of concern for New York: goals conceded.
The Red Bulls have conceded 11 goals this season. That is the second-highest total in MLS. The Revs have conceded a league-best two goals—a staggering number considering the Revs possess the ball only 45.2 percent of the time this season.
Saturday will be no different.
New England will once again have to live with conceding a lion’s share of the possession. So the Revs will look to bend, but not break. Frustrating the Red Bulls in the final third is essential and feasible. The Red Bulls lead the league in scoring attempts blocked with 27.
New York is a savvy, veteran team. But it’s also an old one.
Most of its star players are on the wrong side of 30. Playing three matches in eight days will test the fitness levels of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, among others.
Jamison Olave will likely miss the match after an early exit—due to injury—in Wednesday's loss (left knee). Juninho will also miss the match after his self-implosion. It’s the perfect opportunity for Mike Petke to asses his team’s depth.
But not playing the Red Bulls at full strength will benefit Jay Heaps’ squad.
New England’s best chance is to duplicate DC United’s performance at Red Bull Arena in Week 3. But with a strong counter on the outside, New England can turn a one-sided affair into a positive result.
Just don’t expect it to be of the aesthetic kind.
The Player to Watch on the Opposition
Rookie sensation and No. 1 overall pick Andy Farrell will look to exploit a Red Bulls side that is yet to demonstrate proper width and speed this season. The Opta Chalkboards tell that story. Most of Eric Alexander's distribution Wednesday night remained in the center of the pitch.
The planets are aligning for New England, but not all of them. The Red Bulls have dominated the opposition following a loss this season and are yet to lose back-to-back games (2-0-1).
Note: Stats taken from MLS MatchDay app.