The Kansas City Wizards are in New Jersey today to take on the Red Bulls and it will be interesting to see how the Wizards look coming off a bye week and chance to regroup after a rough road stretch.
The Red Bulls aren’t likely to play kind hosts. They are unbeaten at home this season (2-0-1) and will be looking to build momentum heading into next week’s highly-anticipated showdown against the Chicago Fire. The Red Bulls are fresh off a 2-1 win against Los Angeles and will be looking to bump their unbeaten streak to five games with a win tonight.
The most stunning number surrounding this series? The Wizards haven’t won at Giants Stadium since 2000, a span of 11 matches (0-5-6). The last win came on April 19, 2000.
Here is a rundown of some more facts and figures on today’s match, followed by a breakdown of the match-up:
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (3-3-1) at NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-1-2)
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30pm
WHERE: Giants Stadium
ALL-TIME SERIES: The Red Bulls hold a 14-13-8 edge in the series and are 4-1-4 in the past nine meetings. The Red Bulls are also unbeaten in the past 11 meetings between these teams at Giants Stadium (5-0-6).
LAST MEETING: Juan Pablo Angel scored a pair of goals to lead the Red Bulls to a 2-1 victory against the Wizards at Giants Stadium on Oct. 13, 2007.
INJURIES: RED BULLS- OUT: MF Claudio Reyna (L calf strain); MF Seth Stammler (lower back injury); FW Oscar Echeverry (R LCL sprain); MF David Roth (L knee surgery); DF Michael Palacio (L knee injury); PROBABLE: DF Chris Leitch (L MCL sprain); FW John Wolyniec (R hamstring strain). WIZARDS– OUT: MF Lance Watson (foot fracture); PROBABLE: MF Davy Arnaud (hamstring strain); DF Jimmy Conrad (heel pain); MF Rauwshan McKenzie (ankle sprain)
MATCH-UP TO WATCH: Juan Pablo Angel vs. Jimmy Conrad. Look for this one to be a battle all game long. Angel got the better of this one last season, scoring five goals in three meetings against KC, but Conrad has enjoyed a strong season so far and should provide a stiff test to Angel.
OUTLOOK: This match will be decided on the wings, where the Red Bulls will be looking to attack from with Dane Richards, Hunter Freeman and Dave Van Den Bergh. Kansas City has had some shaky defending on the flanks in recent weeks, which is something the Wizards surely addressed during the bye week.
Look for the Red Bulls to set up in a more traditional two-forward set-up in order to force the Wizards, which normally employ a 3-5-2, to match up with it. Richards will be a key in this match-up as his speed and shiftiness should create problems all day.
The Wizards attack can bek quick and dangerous, but too often stagnates when the midfield can’t get enough possession and spread balls to the flanks (a lack of quality service has led to considerable struggles offensively in the team’s past few games). The central midfield battle will be key for KC, which might consider starting Carlos Marinelli in order to create more in the attack and test rookie Luke Sassano.
Ultimately, the Wizards won’t be able to deal with the Angel-Altidore forward tandem while the Red Bulls defense stifles Kansas City’s struggling attack. Red Bulls 2, Wizards 0.
Share your own thoughts on the match below and keep an eye out for a running commentary post closer to match-time.