This weekend the New York Red Bulls will meet their long time rival D.C. United for the second time in less then a month. The Red Bulls are coming off their first road win since May with a gritty 1-0 win against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Last time out vs D.C., a monsoon turned RFK Stadium into a swamp. Despite horrid conditions, the Red Bulls were able to go up 2-0 over their rivals, before squandering the lead and settling for a point. This time around, the to will meet at Red Bull Arena. The home for the Red Bulls has been a nightmare for opposition, as New York has won an Eastern Conference best 10 games at home this season. No other team in the Eastern Conference has nine home wins.
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United Preview
Three Players to Watch
Mike Grella has been quiet over the past few weeks for the Red Bulls. While having three assists in his last five matches, Grella has not scored since knocking in two in a 2-0 win against the Seattle Sounders back on June 19th. If the Red Bulls want to be serious threat for MLS Cup, they will need Mike Grella at his best. A strong game for Grella now could start a good run of form heading into the playoffs.
The Iron Man for the New York Red Bulls. It is almost expected that when the Red Bulls play, Luis Robles is the man net. Going on 134 consecutive starts of a full 90 minutes, Robles is sometimes an after thought as great saves just seem to happen when he is in between the sticks. The 2015 Goalkeeper of the Year has stood on his head for the past four years for this club and nothing will change this weekend. With D.C. desperate to get into the playoffs, Robles will have to face a strong offensive push.
Seems like a broken record, but Wright-Phillips is a player to watch again. After scoring the lone goal in the win against Vancouver, Wright-Phillips currently sits tied with New York City FC’s David Villa atop the MLS Golden Boot standings with 17. Scoring in seven of his last eight games for New York, I expect the hot streak to continue.
The Red Bulls have been seemingly unbeatable at home. They haven’t lost a game in Red Bull Arena since April. Despite facing a desperate D.C. United fighting for the playoffs, I expect the Red Bulls to win in this one. With much more playable conditions, New York will be able to enforce their pressure on D.C. With a jam packed Red Bull Arena, the Red Bulls will draw closer to not only top of the Eastern Conference, but Supporters’ Shield as well.