After the return of Major League Soccer this past weekend, Real Salt Lake look ahead to a mid-week tilt against the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls have been surging up the league table after securing their fourth consecutive victory Sunday night against the Sounders. But the claret and cobalt look to seek out the advantage of being on their home pitch as the Red Bulls have failed to take 3 points from Rio Tinto in their history. RSL will hope to keep that trend and hold the fort down until their captain returns from United States national team duty.
In goal for New York will be 2015 MLS goalkeeper of the year: Luis Robles. Robles plied his trade in German football for years with FC Kaiserslautern and Karlsruher SC before his move to the Big Apple in 2012. Since his arrival, Robles has gone on to make over 100 appearances for New York and become a key cog in the Red Bull line-up. The 31 year old will be hoping to obtain a 5th consecutive clean sheet in his match-up against the Real attack.
One of the biggest reasons for the Red Bulls surge up the league table has been owed to their back-line. The New York defense has performed admirably while three of their central defenders have been in good form. Chris Duvall, Ronald Zubar and the much maligned Aurelien Collin have all earned at least one start in NYRB’s last three league matches. New York head coach Jesse Marsch will have a selection headache he surely won’t mind as he prepares to pick his starting XI. The full back positions will be filled by Sal Zizzo on the right, and HomeGrown Player Connor Lade on the left.
The Red Bulls 4-5-1 formation will feature a packed midfield featuring two defensive midfielders, two wingers and a free role for their creative playmaker. That creative playmaker for New York is Sacha Kljestan. The 30 year old American has European Champions League experience from his time at RSC Anderlecht in Belgium and is the MLS assist leader by a wide margin with 10. RSL’s own Joao Plata and New England’s Lee Nguyen are next closest with 6. Lots of the facilitating in midfield will be among Kljestan and his holding midfielders Dax McCarty and Felipe. New York also feature threats from their wide positions through Lloyd Sam and Mike Grella. Two of the most skilled wingers in the league can be difference makers towards the end of games.
The lone-man leading the line for New York will be 2014 MLS Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips. Being born to legendary Arsenal striker Ian Wright, Wright-Phillips was destined to be a goal scorer. The 31 year old Englishman is tied for 3rd among goal scorers this season with a tally of eight. The New York bench features a promising 19-year-old Cameroonian in Anatole Abang. He has already been capped by his country and will likely make an appearance to partner Wright-Phillips if the Red Bulls need a late goal.