Eugene Rupinski, Brotherly Game) With the Open Cup on Wednesday against New York City FC and a match against them next Saturday, is there a chance the Red Bulls will overlook the Union this weekend?
Jonathan Machlin, Once A Metro) Well, head coach Jesse Marsch has already demonstrated a willingness to rest players when the team has a short week. Back in May when we had a mid-week showdown on the road against Sporting KC, Marsch rested most of his starters to preserve them for the game against the Union several days later. As you know full-well, the plan blew up in his face as they lost in KC and got run out of your building that weekend.
But, given that the Red Bulls are set to play the Union in less than two weeks in the U.S. Open Cup's Sweet 16, it would be a huge boost to the team's confidence if they can avenge their earlier loss and get a point or three before your guys come to Harrison. The team will also see the return of starting defenders Kemar Lawrence and Michael Murillo - back from international duties - so our LB and RB will be fully-rested at the very least.
Ultimately I think the Red Bulls will play as hard as they can for this one.
tBG) The Red Bulls have won only once on the road this season - the first match of the season against Atlanta United. Why can't Red Bull win away from home?
OAM) That's the multi-million dollar question isn't it? Last year the problem was conceding goals late in games, and this year the Red Bulls are simply getting shut out every time they leave Red Bull Arena - they haven't scored a goal on the road since April 1st. They've scored only 15 goals in 15 games - whereas last year the team got almost half of that in a single road game before this point in the season. So as soon as the Red Bulls solve their scoring woes, they'll probably solve their road woes.
But let's not pretend that road woes are a problem exclusive to the Red Bulls. Last I checked the Union have the same number of wins on the road since 2016 as RBNY. It's no secret that getting wins on the road in MLS is pretty hard. Every team in the league to date has played at least six road games, and 12 teams are either winless or have one win (and five of them are in playoff positions). Only two teams - Toronto and the Galaxy - even have winning records on the road.
That said, the Red Bulls' failure to get results on the road is one of the reasons that they've failed to win any tournaments - the Open Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League, and the MLS Cup.
tBG) Is this the Red Bulls' year to finally win an MLS Cup?
OAM) Ah yes, the least favorite question of every Red Bulls/MetroStars fan since 1996.
In my opinion, whether or not we win is, at this point, entirely dependent on what they do in the summer transfer window. If the Red Bulls can snag a young defender to add depth and a veteran attacker to give Bradley Wright-Phillips some support, they will have as good a chance as any team in the league. Heck, they've got a ton of GAM burning a hole in their pocket from selling Dax McCarty, so they'd better bring someone in who can make a difference.
But barring some new blood, I don't think this is the year.
Injuries: Gideon Baah (broken leg; out for season)
Cautions: Felipe (four games w/o yellow to avoid suspension)
Predicted XI: (4-2-3-1)
G Luis Robles
DF Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Aurelien Collin, Michael Murillo
DM Felipe, AmeriKante
AM Alex Muyl, Sacha Kljestan, Daniel Royer
F Bradley Wright-Phillips
Predicted Score: Philadelphia 2-1 New York. Union score first on a pk, then Red Bulls equalize in middle of second half, only for Chris Pontius to add the winner in the final 15 minutes.