RSL Soapbox) The Red Bulls started 2015 as arguably the best team in 2015. What has happened since then to cause them to temporarily drop out of the Playoff spot?
Once a Metro) The Red Bulls have bought into the high press system. They have employed it pretty much all year, except for when they were a man down vs NYC FC. Early on in the year it worked as the Red Bulls started 3-0-3 and were the last unbeaten team in MLS. The problem since then is that the Red Bulls started playing the stronger teams in MLS. They've been able to break the Red Bulls defense by stringing passes together and beating the press.
RSL Soapbox) After 2014 the Red Bulls fans made it abundantly clear that they thought the firing of Petke was unacceptable. Have cooler heads prevailed or is there still a lot of anger with management?
Once a Metro) There is lingering tension about Mike Petke being fired. He is an icon of the club's history and will always have a soft spot in the heart of the fan base. The early season success has helped though. The Red Bull Out movement has been mostly silent since the season started. The Empire Supporter's Club had a protest during the home opener but has been backing the team since. If the season goes down the tubes, you can expect the hatred to come back, but it'll take a while for the wounds to fully heal.
RSL Soapbox) What is the perception of NYCFC and their fans among the Red Bulls faithful?
Once a Metro) Who?
*Questions from Once a Metro to RSL Soapbox*
Once a Metro) Real Salt Lake is near the bottom of the Western Conference for the first time in years. Has the Kreis magic worn off?
RSL Soapbox) Maybe I'm a homer, but I really think that RSL's biggest issue so far has been injuries to multiple players including but not limited to Javier Morales, Joao Plata, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Sebastian Jaime, and Demar Phillips. Now that they have their key offensive players back, the look better. It will only help when we aren't using our 4th and 5th preferred defenders (although they have filled in admirably.)
Once a Metro) How does one go about stopping Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio?
RSL Soapbox) I don't know if there is a way to stop Javier Morales outside of double or triple-teaming him. The other option that has frustrated Morales and RSL in the past is when the opposing teams park the bus in front of their goal, which I don't expect to happen at all in this match. Morales is simply a fantastic player that truly seems to be getting better every year. One way to stop Alvaro Saborio is to get him frustrated through a couple of misses. You won't have to worry about him since he will not be with the team in this one. There is an ongoing investigation into why he had an extended absence after being permitted to leave the team for a day then proceeded to miss the game against Sporting KC for "personal reasons" whatever that means.
Once a Metro) The RSL defense has had injury issues lately. Is this a prime time for Bradley Wright-Phillip to get out of his scoring funk?
RSL Soapbox) It very well could be, although I though that Justen Glad and Aaron Maund did really well against the firepower of Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi, and Krisztian Nemeth. Like I mentioned before, they are not the typical starters but they have played well together thus far and done much better than anyone expected including myself. Justen Glad is only 18 years old and has loads of promise going forward with how good he is on the ball and how sound he is fundamentally. Aaron Maund has done decently well over the past few years as a backup and is somewhat experienced in this role. The problem is that BWP is a fantastic finisher and only needs a sniff to score. So I wouldn't be surprised if he has at least a goal.