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Red Bulls ready for crucial Chicago showdown


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There are seven different permutations that will get the New York Red Bulls into the MLS Cup playoffs. But the Red Bulls players have just one concern heading into their regular-season finale at Chicago Thursday night.

“If we win, we’re in,” said Red Bulls midfielder Dave Van Den Bergh. “It’s as easy as that.”

That is true. A victory at Toyota Park means the Red Bulls book their package into the postseason as a wild card in either the Eastern Conference, where they’d play the Supporters’ Shield-winning Columbus Crew, or into the West where they’ll face the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo.

“We don’t want to be, after this game, waiting for something else to happen in order for us to qualify for the playoffs,” Juan Pablo Angel said. “We’ve got to get the job done and fly back nice and safe with the qualification in our hands.”

The Red Bulls, which have but one road win this season (against the Los Angeles Galaxy) can still clinch a berth without a win, but that means they would have to wait until the weekend to learn its fate.

“I don’t want to go there thinking we’ll be okay if the other results go well,” Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. “We have our future in our hands and we have to make sure we go there ready to compete and ready to play and hopefully get the three points.”

“It will be an agony to go through three days waiting for results to really know if we are in it,” he added.

The Fire have already locked up their playoff position and have little to play for, unless of course you consider the vendetta Chicago owner has against Osorio.

“For obvious circumstances I think they will come out with the best team they have and that’s (what) I’m preparing for,” Osorio said. “In my opinion, we’re playing against one of the best teams in this league with, as I have said in the past, some of the best players, too.”

With the exception of Jeff Parke and Jon Conway, Osorio will have as close to a full squad to choose from for one of the first times this year. In fact, he apologized to reporters Thursday afternoon for keeping them waiting for an hour because he was speaking to three players who were pleading their cases to get into Osorio’s starting XI.

“It’s always a difficult thing, but I’m here to do the job and to make decisions and hopefully I get those decisions right,” Osorio said.

One player who will not be flying to Chicago on Wednesday is Carlos Mendes, who instead is off to Munich to have sports hernia surgery on Thursday. As was the case for van den Bergh, Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck will perform a Minimal Repair Technique. Mendes is expected to be out 2-3 weeks.


  1. If Oso goes with freakin Angel alone up top, I’ll disown the guy. Have they EVER won with that line-up? He’s now got great weapons to place around JPA in Kandji and Mbuta, so that’s that. I believe in this team, I think they can pull out a tight victory here. Alot depends on who Oso puts in the back line, and how they perform.

    -Anyone know what has to happen for them to get in if RB loses? What about if they tie?

  2. Watch for Chicago to play hard, as they would if they really needed to win; RB will win at the end but it should be a fun game to watch. Chicago is the only team we should not be afraid to play at home; they messed up there so many times this year!

  3. Ives,

    If Van Den Bergh or Stammler get a yellow in the final game of the season, do they have to miss the first playoff game because of yellow card accumulation?

  4. no way NYRB wins this game. If Chicago can contribute to NYRB missing the playoffs, they will. However, I’m skeptical about DCU beating Columbus. Watch Brian Carroll score two to give a big FU to the DC front office.

  5. As a Fire supporter, I always want the Fire to win….but to be fair, I’m sorta non-plus about the result of Thursday–sure I’d love to put the screws to Judas Carlita, but makes no nevermind to me really. Plus, as we know that if NJRB get in the playoffs, they have to play C-bus or Houston in the first round…..which would essentially mean ANOTHER first-round exit for the bulls….

    Either way, glorious.

  6. It’s very simply for the Red Bulls…Win and your in…I really want to see them take down the Fire on Thursday because I don’t think my heart can take the pain watching the other games and hoping the results go the Red Bulls way

    PFutebol website is the best for all the Red Bulls news by the way

  7. He’s got the full squad, with Van den Bergh in the mix, I’m very comfortable the team will be competitive and play well.

    They may or may not win, but they’ll come out all guns blazing.

  8. cammiev – lol, its a 2 leg series, both thursday night games…. hardly an advantage…. as ives posted, regardless of whether we finish 2nd or 3rd, we’ll only have home field adv. if Crew bomb in opening series….

  9. “”It’s always a difficult thing, but I’m here to do the job and to make decisions and hopefully I get those decisions right,” Osorio said.”

    DONT START WANCHOPE!!! oh crap that was last year wasnt it??

  10. I can only say GO RED BULLS! As a Revs fan, I’m hoping you guys beat Chicago, which is always something to be desired, even if we couldn’t do so this year. And Chicago does have something else to play for, home field advantage. If we beat KC and you beat Chicago, we get home field advantage. That’s NOT a reason for you to lose, by the way.

  11. First – I hope Osorio doesn’t play a 4-5-1. None of us are huge fans of Angel up top by himself.

    Secondly – what’s with all the sports hernias? Is this normal?

  12. So he’s got his 11 planned… Now to only figure out which 3 players were left out.

    It’s good to hear that they want all 3 points, though. Playing for a draw, while theoretically safer, is certainly more nerve wracking.


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