The suddenly-resurgent Union face a white-hot Red Bulls team in Harrison, NJ on Saturday under the lights on Military Appreciation Night.
It figures: just when the Union (7th in the East, 4-2-5, 14 points) start to look like they’ve got it figured out, they run into a buzzsaw.
The Red Bulls of New York (4th in the East, 7-0-3, 21 points) have not dropped points in a match in over a month, winning four straight (including three road wins) by a total score of 12-4. If ever there was a test of the Union’s mettle this year, this would be it. A road point against their archrival would be an enormous step forward for a team that’s just starting to fire on all cylinders. On the other hand, a deflating loss even the road could halt the growing momentum of the club.
This will be the first of two matches between the sides. The second will be the Union’s final home match of the year.
For the Red Bulls, Luis Robles (knee injury) and Kyle Duncan (torn right ACL) are both out. The Union will be missing Richie Marquez (sports hernia surgery) and Josh Yaro (concussion).
New York brings the league’s most potent offense into the match, averaging 2.60 goals a match. The Union back four and Andre Blake will have their hands full with famed Union-killer Bradley Wright-Phillips (8 goals, 5 assists) and midfielder Alejandro Romero Gamarra (3 goals, 9 assists), and it’s very likely the boys in blue such as Borek Dockal and C.J. Sapong will have to come up with a couple tallies just to take a point in this one.
The last time these two clubs met, Blake put on a show with an eight-save effort in a match that ended scoreless, including several efforts that left Red Bulls players looking skyward for answers. The Jamaican national shut the Red Bulls out twice last year. The U will need another big day from Blake most likely if they’re to hope to come away from this one with anything.
Having said that, I think it’s a bit much to expect anything out of this one. Trusty the Process? Not quite yet.
RBNY 3 – Union 1