Greetings from I-95. I’m driving down to RFK Stadium as we speak (well, a friend is driving while I type this). After making so many of these drives to and from Washington D.C. I can tell you that this isn’t a ride that elicits many positive memories for Red Bulls players and fans, who have undoubtedly endured dozens of disappointing retun trips.
The feeling is a bit different this time coming down. A 4-1 win at Giants Stadium against D.C. has the Red Bulls feeling more confident about this trip down. This match isn’t about revenge or all the past defeats at RFK Stadium (and there have been plenty). Tonight’s match is about the Eastern Conference standings and trying to put more breathing room between them and cellar dwellars Toronto FC and Kansas City.
D.C. United have to feel confident coming into the match. A 3-0 win against Colorado last week has the club believing it can piece together a late-season run, but the Red Bulls are the ones riding serious momentum, coming in unbeaten in five matches.
Here is a closer look at tonight’s match:
The key for D.C. tonight will be Jaime Moreno and his ability to create for an offense without playmaker Marcelo Gallardo and Brazilian winger Fred, who are normally the key midfield catalysts. Without them, Moreno will be forced to drop back more to receive the ball and create chances for players such as Luciano Emilio and Santino Quaranta.
What will the Red Bulls to do slow down the player who has tormented their club more than any other player in history? They will look to beat him up like they did the last time the teams met. Juan Pietravallo roughed up Moreno the last time the teams met, treatment that lasted 45 minutes before D.C. head coach Tom Soehn benched Moreno in order to rest him for the looming U.S. Open Cup semifinal at mid-week.
The key for D.C. will be getting balls to Emilio, who has the quickness and strength to trouble a Red Bulls back-line that will be without suspended Venezuelan center back Gabriel Cichero. If Jeff Parke can’t play due to injury then Andrew Boyens will start and will be a target for D.C. United’s speedsters.
The Red Bulls attack should create problems for D.C.’s vulnerable back-line with Jroge Rojas back and Dane Richards looking as good as he has all year. Here is the lineup you can expect to see from the Red Bulls tonight:
The big question will be which attacking player head coach Juan Carlos Osorio benches to slide in Jorge Rojas. Osorio could move Van Den Bergh to left back and potentially start this lineup:
Van Den Bergh—————————–Leitch
The match-up to watch will be Ivan Guerrero against Chris Leitch. Guerrero is a skillful and quick player but Leitch has the speed to stay with him. If Leitch struggles, Gutierrez could be the key to a D.C. victory.
What do you think of tonight’s game? Will D.C. United continue its home dominance against the Red Bulls? Will New York step in and finally win at RFK?
Share your thoughts below.