Each week we do a Q&A with our friends around the SBNation Soccer world to get thoughts on their team from those who know them best. Know your enemy.
It's Hudson River Derby time (again, already?) in New York (and New Jersey) as New York City FC travels to Harrison New Jersey to face New York Red Bulls for the third and final time this season. After sustaining it's worst loss ever to RBNY in the first leg, NYC FC took it to Red Bulls in Yankee Stadium, winning 2-0.
This week, Huan Nguyen from Once a Metro answers our Red Bulls questions. Huan covers the team's recent form, the Lloyd Sam trade, and previews the match.
Q.) Following its recent loss to NYC FC in early July, Red Bulls took five points from three games against a tough schedule which included Portland and Philadelphia. The points put Red Bulls firmly into third in the East despite that NYC FC loss. What, if anything, did the Red Bulls change, personnel or with tactics, following the loss? If there was no change or it was marginal, what improvement did you see on the field?
While the Red Bulls got 5 points from 3 games, they haven't really looked great aside from the game against Orlando. The team has been pretty consistent this year - they're a very good team at home and have really struggled on the road. The NYCFC game is actually their only win away from home. Tactically, the team has not changed much from the NYCFC game. They still line up in the 4-2-3-1 and play the high press. They have continued to rotate the center backs, but aside from rotations due to the condensed schedule the team has remained largely the same. Four of those 5 points came at home where the Red Bulls have been traditionally strong.
Q.) While Lloyd Sam wasn't lighting it up this year in a Red Bulls shirt like he has in the past, his trade still came as a shock to some around MLS. What has been the reaction among the fans to his trade? The team has been furtive in its search for a player to spend the newly available general allocation money on - What have you heard about any incoming signings and what would you like to see RBNY do with the GAM?
The reaction to the trade has been mixed. A lot of people understand where it is coming from (Lloyd Sam, despite his youthful appearance, is 31 and appeared to have lost a step this year) but people were more upset that he was traded to our historic rival DC. That being said, Jesse has hinted at some trialists coming in (two midfielders and a defender) while Rob Stone tweeted out that there could be an announcement as early as Sunday. That being said, the fans are clamoring for a big name striker (Mario Gomez has been suggested); however, knowing the new Red Bull's transfer strategy, it'll be someone a little bit younger and someone with some more resale potential. That being said, no real names have been floated so far.
Q.) This decisive third meeting between the two clubs is likely to be contentious, not only because the teams have a rivalry, but also because there will be plenty at stake. What player or players need to step up from Red Bulls if the team hopes to get a positive result? What weakness should NYC try to expose this time around?
The two fullbacks probably have the most pressure on them to perform well. Under Jesse's high press system, the "wingers" really pinch narrow and press high. So the fullbacks really have to get forward. They have to not only provide width in the attack, but also get back and play good defense. Also, after the Philadelphia game, Chris Duvall and Sal Zizzo were blamed (fairly or unfairly) for the two goals. In the high press system the fullbacks are under a lot of pressure. If Jack Harrison and David Villa can find pockets of space against them like they did last game, the Red Bulls may struggle.
How about a starting XI and game prediction?
Zizzo, Perrinelle, Collin, Lade
Muyl, Kljestan, Grella
I think the Red Bulls win 2-1. They've been good at home this year and are coming off a tough game against Philadelphia and will want to take it to NYCFC.