Following the 2-1 loss at home against the LA Galaxy, RSL was sent into a whirlwind of news and turmoil this week highlighted by the departure of fourth-year coach Jeff Cassar. While the front office embarks on an exhaustive search for a new full-time head manager, goalkeeper coach Daryl Shore will take the reins in the interim, his first test being a road trip to visit the third-place Red Bulls.
Where they stand
As mentioned before, New York (2-1-0, 6 points) sits in third place in the Eastern Conference, although they’re tied on points with both Orlando City and Atlanta United. After finishing first in the east last season, they’re continuing their winning ways this year with a stacked lineup, including last year’s Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips and USMNT star Sacha Kljestan.
Their first and only loss of the year came last week when they visited reigning MLS cup champs Seattle Sounders, who beat them handily by a score of 3-1.
On the other side, Salt Lake (0-2-1, 1 point) finds themselves in 10th place after three games with just a single point to their name. Tied on points with Vancouver and Minnesota, RSL is ahead of the latter only on the goal differential tiebreaker, thanks to a couple huge blowouts Minnesota had to start the season.
RSL holds a slight edge in the all-time series against New York, with six wins, five losses and eight draws between the two sides. However, the home teams have dominated the series, with a visiting team winning only once, when RSL beat the Red Bulls 3-1 on the road back in September of 2011.
The last meeting, which came on June 22, 2016, saw RSL grab a 2-1 win at home thanks to an 87th-minute winner from Jordan Allen. NY defender Gideon Baah opened the scoring early to put the Red Bulls up 1-0 in the seventh minute, and RSL wouldn’t find the equalizer until the 65th minute, when Yura Movsisyan put in a goal from a John Stertzer assist.
In the face of injury, international callups, and coaching shakeups, the claret and cobalt have a tough task ahead of them if they want to get a result against a team who only drew twice and lost twice at home last season.
Injuries continue to plague Salt Lake, while it was reported by Salt Lake Tribune beat writer Chris Kamrani that Justen Glad, Joao Plata, David Horst, and Chad Barrett didn’t train with the squad on Wednesday before they left for New York.
Glad, Plata, Horst and Barrett did not train. Guest players today were Phanuel Kavita and Skyler Milne (Monarchs) due to lack of numbers.— Chris Kamrani (@chriskamrani) March 22, 2017
It’s worth mentioning that Chris Schuler and Aaron Maund weren’t on this list, which could point to the veteran tandem getting the start for the first time together this season. However, Jordan Allen is still listed as out due to his right quad strain he suffered in the game against Chicago a couple weeks back.
In addition, the visitors will be without captain Kyle Beckerman, who received a red card in the LA game last week and will serve his one-game suspension. To top it all off, both Albert Rusnak and Nick Rimando will be off on international duty with the Slovakia and US national teams, respectively.
With so many absences, RSL will struggle to find sufficient replacements off the bench, so it remains to be seen what kind of makeshift lineup interim coach Daryl Shore will be forced to put on the field.
However, after seeing both Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo get starts last week against LA, RSL fans can most likely look forward to another fantastic game from these two youngsters as they seemed to by far be the bright spots in last week’s loss.
New York is missing a few players of their own, which should ease a little pressure off of RSL. The Red Bulls will be without Sacha Kljestan and Michael Murillo due to international callups (US and Panama, respectively). In addition, they’re dealing with injuries from Connor Lade, Gideon Baah, and Gonzalo Veron who will all miss the match-up this weekend as well.
RSL: Kyle Beckerman (suspended), Nick Rimando (int’l duty), Albert Rusnak (int’l duty), Joao Plata (hip contusion), Jordan Allen (quad strain), Justen Glad (knee injury), David Horst (knee injury), Chad Barrett (questionable)
RBNY: Sacha Kljestan (int’l duty), Michael Murillo (int’l duty), Connor Lade (torn ACL), Gideon Baah (broken leg), Gonzalo Veron (hamstring injury)
RSL: Van Oekel; Beltran, Schuler, Schmidt, Phillips; Mulholland, Sunny; Lennon, Silva, Saucedo; Movsisyan
RBNY: Robles; Zizzo, Perrinelle, Long, Bilyeu; Felipe, Davis; Grella, Royer; Gulbrandsen, Wright-Phillips
When: Saturday, March 25, 2:00pm MT
Where: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ
Weather: 57 degrees, overcast
Broadcast: KMYU, UniMas, ESPN700, Facebook Live
Referee: Chris Penso