New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids | 2017 MLS Match Preview
New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids
2017 MLS Regular Season
Red Bull Arena – Harrison, New Jersey
Saturday, March 11 – 4 pm ET
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Colorado stuck with their effective 2016 formula – rugged defense and opportunistic finishing – to defeat New England 1-0 at home in Week 1. Meanwhile RBNY had to dig out a come-from-behind 2-1 road victory over MLS debutants Atlanta United on Sunday, overcoming long travel and a short turnaround from their CONCACAF Champions League loss at Vancouver at midweek.
New York Red Bulls
Despite a turbulent winter marked by the departure of sporting director Ali Curtis, the shift to a new 4-2-2-2 formation and the CCL quarterfinal setback to the Whitecaps, the Red Bulls scratched out a victory under hostile conditions in Atlanta and are now unbeaten in 17 straight MLS regular-season games (10-0-7), two shy of the league record (set by Columbus in 2004-05). RBNY have scored in 16 straight regular-season matches, averaging 2.2 goals per game across those 16 games. And they may need it this week: They’ve only won two of their last 13 games vs. Colorado, dating back to 2008.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT - Connor Lade (torn ACL), Gonzalo Veron (hamstring)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-2-2): Luis Robles (GK) — Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Damien Perrinelle, Sal Zizzo — Felipe, Sean Davis — Daniel Royer, Sacha Kljestan — Bradley Wright-Phillips, Alex Muyl
Notes: Robles has started 141 consecutive league matches in goal, tied for the league record with Chris Klein. He is in line to break the record on Saturday. … Aurelien Collin was rested at Atlanta but started the CCL match at Vancouver and could return to the lineup vs. Colorado … Designated Player Gonzalo Veron injured his hamstring against Vancouver and his status is being evaluated this week … The defeat of Atlanta United was RBNY’s first season-opening win on the road since an April 3 win at Columbus in 2004.
- Red Bulls teach debutants Atlanta a lesson in heart-pumping debut
- Same old problem: New York Red Bulls struggle again in knockout situation
The Mile High Club allowed the fewest goals (32) in MLS last year and that stinginess continued in last week’s shutout win over the Revolution. Conversely, New York boasted the best goal differential (+17) in the league and their high press will test Colorado’s nascent commitment to more possession and creative attacking movement. Defender Axel Sjoberg was named to the MLS Team of the Week for his efforts in stifling the Revs, while Kevin Doyle and Dominique Badji lead the attack, and may be joined by top gun Shkelzen Gashi, who sat out the opener.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT - John Berner (wrist) QUESTIONABLE - Tim Howard (right adductor), Shkelzen Gashi (Achilles)
Projected starting XI (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath — Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch — Sam Cronin, Micheal Azira — Marlon Hairston, Dillon Powers, Dominique Badji — Kevin Doyle
Notes: Stars Howard and Gashi missed the season opener due to groin and Achilles issues, respectively. But Mastroeni said there's a “good chance” Gashi is available for action vs. RBNY and Howard said he felt “good” and “close” to a return … Badji’s goal against New England was his fifth in his last nine regular-season appearances.
- After career year, Rapids' Dominique Badji aims to hit double digits in '17
- We haven't gotten the respect we deserve, say Rapids after win over Revs
- Arena: US "very cautious" about Dempsey, Howard's status for qualifiers
This will be the 41st meeting between the two teams in MLS action. The Red Bulls haven’t won in Colorado since 2007, while the Rapids have never won at Red Bull Arena. The last Red Bulls victory in the series came in 2012, a 4-1 home win. Colorado won last year’s meeting 2-1, an occasion made memorable by Jermaine Jones notching a goal and an assist in his Rapids debut – as well as a spring blizzard that blanketed Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in snow and forced a half-hour delay of kickoff.
NY-COL All-Time MLS Meetings (40 matches since May 16, 1996)
- At New York (20 meetings): Red Bulls 9 wins (0 shootout), 40 goals … Rapids 6 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals … Ties 4
- At Colorado (20 meetings): Rapids 11 wins (0 shootout), 31 goals … Red Bulls 6 wins (0 shootout), 19 goals … Ties 3
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski (bench side), Richard Gamache (far side)
Fourth Official: Marcos DeOliveira