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New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City | MLS Match Preview

RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
Sept. 6, 2014 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #246)
7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

A huge match in the Eastern Conference playoff race is ahead when the New York Red Bulls meet Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Red Bulls return home having fallen outside of the top five in the conference and the playoff positions, after their 2-0 loss at D.C. United last weekend. Sporting started a three-game road swing with a third consecutive heavy defeat, dropping a 3-1 decision at the New England Revolution at midweek.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Bill Dittmar; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 113 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 18; pens: 18

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Jamison Olave … KC: Paulo Nagamura, Seth Sinovic
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Armando, Tim Cahill, Ibrahim Sekagya … KC: Antonio Dovale, Eric Kronberg, Kevin Ellis, Lawrence Olum, Igor Juliao
DISABLED LIST: KC: Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara, Chance Myers (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Tim Cahill (Australia; 9/4 v BEL, 9/8 v KSA); Ambroise Oyongo (Cameroon; 9/6 v. Dem. Rep. Congo; 9/10 vs. Ivory Coast); Santiago Castaño, Matt Miazga (U.S. U-20) … KC: Erik Palmer-Brown (U.S. U-20)

ALL-TIME (49 meetings): Red Bulls 18 wins (2 shootout), 59 goals… Sporting 19 wins (2 shootout), 63 goals… Ties 12
AT NY (23 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals… Sporting 5 wins (0 shootout), 23 goals… Ties 8
FUTURE MATCH: 10/26: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m. CT

2014 (MLS)
5/27: KC 1, NY 1 (Dovale 9 – Wright-Phillips 50)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Antonio Dovale scored early in the first half to put SKC ahead, but Bradley Wright-Phillips equalized early in the second half to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw, May 27 at Sporting Park.
  • Sporting have come away with points on their last three visits to Red Bull Arena, including a 1-0 victory last April 17. The Red Bulls have come away with points on their last three visits to Sporting Park.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. NY: P11 W4 L4 T3 … Mike Petke vs. KC: P3 W1 L1 T1


  • After Sporting saw a couple of shots cleared off the line in the early exchanges, they took the lead after just nine minutes. Antonio Dovale took Benny Feilhaber's through ball in traffic, worked his way to a spot just outside the top of the restraining arc and unleashed a left-footed shot that curled into the lower left corner of Luis Robles' goal.
  • The Red Bulls pulled even five minutes after the break. Bradley Wright-Phillips made a run to take Thierry Henry's through ball, drove on goal and placed his shot from right on the edge of the box just under SKC 'keeper Eric Kronberg.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Eric Kronberg - Igor Juliao, Kevin Ellis, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic - Benny Feilhaber - Paulo Nagamura, Alex Martinez (Jimmy Medranda 75) - Antonio Dovale, Dom Dwyer, Sal Zizzo (Soony Saad 72).
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Armando 76), Bobby Convey - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, Ruben Bover (Peguy Luyindula 57) - Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Andre Akpan 93+).

The New York Red Bulls had their road winless streak extended with a second consecutive loss away from Red Bull Arena, falling 2-0 to D.C. United on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. The Red Bulls are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 25 matches on the season.


  • United finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. A long goal kick from Bill Hamid was nodded on by Fabian Espindola into the path of Luis Silva. He raced into the Red Bulls area, took a touch around goalkeeper Luis Robles and easily slotted it home.
  • The game was put away in stoppage time when substitute Eddie Johnson raced onto a long ball from midfielder Perry Kitchen and deftly chipped his shot past Robles, who got a hand to the ball but couldn't stop it from continuing over the line.
  • Hamid made five saves for the clean sheet in the United goal, several of world-class caliber.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made one change to the team that rolled to a 4-2 win against the Montréal Impact at Red Bull Arena. Ambroise Oyongo came back into the side in place of Eric Alexander.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall (Eric Alexander 63), Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Saer Sene 81), Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill (Peguy Luyindula 90), Ambroise Oyongo - Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips.


  • The Red Bulls saw their league road winless streak extended to five games with the loss at D.C. United. The visit by Sporting begins a run of six of the Red Bulls’ next eight games to be played in Harrison.
  • “Are they games that will bury us? No. Are they games that will put is in the playoffs? No,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “That’ll be decided once we lock it up, but obviously every game is an important game from now on and we realize that, the players realize that, so we’re taking them as such.”
  • It was also their second consecutive shutout away from Red Bull Arena, their first shutouts since May 17 and just their fourth shutout of the season overall.
  • “They took their two opportunities that we pretty much gave them and we had a number of opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net and we just weren’t able to today,” said Petke. “The first half, we hit the post, two open headers in the [six-yard box], two shots from inside the [18-yard box] right to the goalie, then a miscommunication on the first goal and the second goal is garbage time stuff.”
  • Ambroise Oyongo returned to the lineup, coming in on the left side of midfield. He shifted back to fullback when Eric Alexander came on when right back Chris Duvall was injured.
  • “I think frustration more than anything,” said Petke. “I can’t put words in players’ mouths or tell you what they’re thinking, but I would imagine some frustration and bewilderment at times, but at the end of the day we have a strong team and we have to step up and prove that. Again, it’s tough to put words in their mouth, but I would expect that they’re determined, that they’re on board, and I’m pretty certain they are. They know what we’re capable of as well as I do, and it’s about no more talking and just getting out and doing it.”
  • The Sporting match is the first of back-to-back home games against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, with the return match against D.C. United coming next week at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls then travel to Philadelphia – who also sit above them in the conference table.
  • “It’s now. We have to pick up points,” said Petke. “If not, we have to what no one ever wants to do and that’s rely on other teams to keep losing. We’re not in the mindset to do something like that. We want to take care of our own situation. Do I think this team is capable of making a run? Absolutely, 100 percent. Are we going to? I have confidence we will. I have confidence that we’ll make the playoffs, but at the end of the day, we have nine games to prove that.”

Sporting Kansas City suffered their third consecutive loss, opening their road trip with a 3-1 loss to the New England Revolution on Wednesday evening at Gillette Stadium. Sporting are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points from 27 games.


  • Sporting took the lead after just nine minutes. Center back Matt Besler unloaded a long throw-in from just above the left corner. Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones got his head to it at the near post, only to deflect it straight back where Sonny Saad nodded it home at the far post.
  • But the home side drew level just before halftime. Jones unleashed a beautiful diagonal pass from midfield to the feet of Teal Bunbury, who worked a defender in the area before taking a shot that deflected off Besler and past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
  • The Revs took the lead three minutes after the halftime restart. Kelyn Rowe, after patiently holding up along the left side, found Lee Nguyen streaking in, and at the top of the box he calmly collected and fired, curling a beauty into the top right corner of the goal.
  • The home side put away the game in stoppage time as Nguyen collected a second. After creating a turnover on his own and playing a one-two with Patrick Mullins, he took the return pass in the right of the area and shot low inside the far post.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made six changes to the team that dropped a 3-1 decision to the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park. Andy Gruenebaum returned between the posts for Jon Kempin, and Igor Juliao, Jorge Claros, Mikey Lopez, Soony Saad and Claudio Bieler all came into the team, in place of Kevin Ellis, Aurelien Collin, Martin Steuble, and the suspended Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Igor Juliao, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Jorge Claros (Martin Steuble 88), Mikey Lopez - C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi, Soony Saad (Sal Zizzo 66) - Claudio Bieler.


  • Sporting have lost three league games on the trot for the first time since April 21-May 12, 2012. They have also lost back-to-back road games, with the New England trip starting a string of three consecutive away games.
  • “I thought we played well. I thought we did well in getting behind them quite a bit – especially with their high line. Obviously we scored a goal off a set piece, which doesn’t hurt especially because we did it early in the [ninth minute],” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “The biggest thing I would say is that again, when you give up three goals that are soft, as we did, there’s no chance of winning.”
  • They have allowed three goals in each of the losses, the first time they have allowed three or more goals in three successive games since the 2001 season, when they allowed 12 goals over three losses to Miami (6/9, 1-5), Los Angeles (6/13, 0-4), and D.C. United (6/19, 0-3).
  • “When you give up the goals like we did, late in the half, and then start the second half, what you do is give confidence to the other team to push forward a little bit more and now they’re anticipating stuff,” Vermes said. “I thought we found some stuff over the top, but we never really broke through. We actually never really gave anything away except for a few silly mistakes and credit to them, they capitalized on them.”
  • Said Sal Zizzo: “Right now we are struggling as a group defending. We’ve let up way too many goals in the last three, four, five games, whatever it’s been. We were in a good position before, but teams are starting to catch up on us now. We are aware of this and as a group need to gain confidence in ourselves. If we give up a goal, we can’t be one of that team that fall into that trap, of giving up and are done for the game. I think we need to be the type of team that response and gets a result.”
  • Soony Saad scored his third goal of the season, his second in the last four matches. Saad has two goals and an assist in those four games, where he’s made three starts.
  • “We’re just going to keep playing the way we’ve been playing all season. We’re not going to change the way that we played just because of the last couple results. We’re ready to get the taste out of our mouths,” Saad said.
  • Andy Gruenebaum made his first appearance in four games, since being forced off with a shoulder injury at halftime of the 2-0 loss at Vancouver on Aug. 10.
  • Aurelien Collin was dropped from the starting lineup, his first league match he’s missed since being forced off May 31 at D.C. United with an injury and missing the following match. “He hasn't been in form,” Vermes said. “It's better sometimes for guys to sit on the sideline and see what's going on, maybe make some decisions from there.”
  • With Benny Feilhaber serving a one-match ban because of caution accumulation, Jorge Claros returned to the lineup for his first start since Aug. 10. “We'll have to assess who's healthy and ready to go,” Vermes said. “That'll be the first piece, and then I'll make decisions from there.”
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NY Red Bulls
Sporting KC

Season Stats

New York Red BullsSporting Kansas City
25Games Played27
38Goals Conceded32
116Shots on Target132
296Fouls committed404
269Fouls suffered382

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Goals Conceded

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