CD FAS vs. New York Red Bulls | CONCACAF Champions League Match Preview
CD FAS vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS
2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League
September 24 | 10 pm ET | Estadio Cuscatlan
TV: Fox Soccer Plus, Univision Deportes
The New York Red Bulls face a must-win game on Wednesday night when they hit the road to face El Salvador’s CD FAS in a battle to stay alive in Group 3. The Red Bulls are expected to bring a full-strength squad to Central America, a departure from their approach to their first two CCL games. FAS have already be eliminated, but will be eager to please the home fans after losing their first home group match to a shorthanded Montreal Impact side back in August and going through a rough stretch in league play.
NOW OR NEVER: Unlike many of the scenarios MLS teams will be facing this week and at the conclusion of group play next month, New York’s choice vs. FAS is simple: win or go home. Anything but the full three points for the Red Bulls means they would be unable to reach Montreal at the top of the group thanks to the Impact's 1-0 win last Wednesday, even if they then defeat the Impact in the group finale on Oct. 22. A win on Wednesday against FAS, however, would put the Red Bulls in position to most likely advance with another win next month.
PULLING OUT THE STOPS?: Mike Petke has been conservative in his lineup choices for the Red Bulls in CCL play, but with a must-win game approaching, it appears that is about to change. Petke said Monday that “ ninety percent” of the team would travel to El Salvador, and at least one notable first team regular, Tim Cahill, could see a start after going just 32 minutes in the weekend. Peguy Luyindula could join him in the starting lineup after strong outings in New York’s previous CCL games, while it remains to be seen whether or not Petke will go with regular CCL starter Ryan Meara or league starter Luis Robles in goal.
ROAD TO TROUBLE: Only two MLS teams, the Montreal Impact and San Jose Earthquakes, have won fewer times on the road in league play than the Red Bulls with their two away victories from 15 games. (Though a few more teams – none currently in a playoff place – share that distinction.) Their last road win this year in any competition came back on June 8 against a New England team just beginning an epic tailspin, so they’ll have to find some solution and know that a point isn’t enough in a tough environment like El Salvador.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Peguy Luyindula, New York Red Bulls: The New York Red Bulls’ French playmaker is an old hand when it comes to continental competition and was one of the best players on the field in the Red Bulls’ CCL-opening 2-0 win over FAS. Look for him to have a similar impact on Wednesday night.
Marcio Teruel, FAS: With leading scorer Jonathan Aguila injured and out for six weeks, the Salvadorans don't have a go-to guy. So they'll have to do it by committee, and the Brazilian Teruel, who joined FAS this season after stints in Serbia and Malta, has the utility to play either in the midfield or on the frontline. He has notched one goal in CCL action already, though he's expected to play more of a set-up man than a finisher.