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San Jose Earthquakes at New York Red Bulls - prematch thoughts

This isn't going to really be a match preview, no time for that today.  Instead I am just going to offer up some thoughts about the match and what each team might need to do in order to secure their spot in the next round of the playoffs.

San Jose was an average home team (7-5-3) and it showed as they were dominated, more shots on goal and more fouls committed by New York who simply looked like they were there to impose their will.  They prevented Chris Wondolowski from getting a goal, and kept the entire Quakes side to just 3 shots on goal.  San Jose is a good road team, actually they were the second best road team in MLS (6-5-4), only LA was better.  Tonight if San Jose wants to prove they are for real and not a one man wonder, they will need to find away to get past a very stingy Red Bull defense.

The Red Bulls gave up 29 goals this year, almost one per match but at home they allowed just 9 in 15 matches and were second in MLS to Real Salt Lake (7) in fewest home goals allowed.  Bouna Coundoul has 14 wins and 11 clean sheets this year in net for the Red Bulls and while many question his decision making, few question his 1.03 GAA. The Red Bulls are unlikely to come out and look to defend their 1-0 lead in the series but I expect they will look for a way to add a quick goal from either Dane Richards (who has been hot the last 1/3 of the season) or perhaps they will look for Juan Pablo Angel to find his form again?  JPA has 13 goals on the season but only 2 goals over the last several months of the season, and whose motivation has to be in question as it has been known for a couple months that the Red Bulls won't be renewing his contract after the end of the season.

It could be a very interesting match, as one only has to look back to May 8th when the Quakes beat the Red Bulls 4-0, after NYRB went down a man early.  I will be keeping one eye on the action tonight and another eye on the officials, as this match will likely be physical and one call could change the playoffs for one or both teams.  I am going to pick an upset in this one as San Jose wins the match 2-1 but ends up losing either in stoppage time or on PK's.

OFF MY SOAPBOX