(Updated) preview and projected starting lineup for Week 2 vs Sounders

Posted on 02 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The Week 1 win over Chicago, though not without its flaws, was nice from a results standpoint. Very nice, even, considering New York had not defeated the Fire since the Bush administration. Tomorrow night at Seattle’s Qwest Field the Red Bulls can accomplish something else they haven’t done since a Republican inhabited the White House–win on the road.

It will not be an easy task. With its plastic pitch and raucous 35,000-odd crowd, Qwest Field is the toughest away match the Red Bulls face this year. On top of everything else, New York is still short-handed. Its best player, Juan Pablo Angel, may be fit on paper, but anybody who saw him against Chicago knows this isn’t the same guy who scored 73 goals in his first three seasons with the club. On this week’s Seeing Red! podcast (yeah that’s a shameless plug. Deal with it) I argued that Angel should be withheld from the lineup altogether. The risk of (further) injury is simply too great and the potential upside too small given that Angel is clearly not at his best and this is a game the Red Bulls are expected to lose anyway.

Ibrahim Salou is still awaiting his working papers and is not expected to be an option. Macoumba Kandji, who started alongside Angel last week, has not impressed either. So who to play up top? I’m told that Juan Agudelo has been seeing time with the first team in practice this week. Expect him to get his first MLS start at Qwest Field. Barring a major surprise Kandji will start at the other forward spot, even though he probably doesn’t deserve to. Of course Angel could go as well. But unless he is really 100% fit, the Colombian should sit this one out for the good of the team. With Carl Robinson expected to return the rest of the starting lineup will be identical to what it was in the Red Bull Arena grand opening game against Santos:

Update: Carl Robinson did not travel with the team and is ruled out of the Seattle match. Danleigh Borman probably did enough to get another start, though we’d still much rather see Austin da Luz. Sinisa Ubiparipovic will take Robinson’s spot as holding midfielder.


Dane Richards doesn’t deserve to start either after his performance against Chicago, but what ready-made alternatives does Hans Backe have at right mid? The obvious player to spell Richards, Matthew Mbuta, was jettisoned in the offseason. Luke Sassano, Tony Tchani and perhaps even Seth Stammler are options, but all lack the pace sought by Backe for that position. Trialist Damani Ralph saw time at right mid in the exhibition match against Army and Irving Garcia appears to have popped up there as well (judging by our photo gallery); are either of them perhaps being groomed to replace Richards? Don’t expect a move to happen right away–or at all, even. Richards appears to be the choice for right midfield and he will receive every opportunity to show he deserves the spot. My mind may be made up on Richards (again, defer to my Seeing Red! comments) but Backe does not agree with me (give him a few more games).

For Seattle, the big question is whether Freddie Ljungberg is fit. The Swedish midfielder picked up a knock in the Sounders’ season opening win over Philadelphia and at the time of this writing was questionable. If Ljungberg can’t go it will obviously be a break for Red Bull. But even then the home side will be favored. With Freddy Montero, Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, Seattle simply has too much talent at midfield and forward. The Red Bulls defense, which has performed very well to date and carries a clean sheet into the match, will have its hands full with or without Ljungberg. The Miller-Ream-Petke-Hall back four will be put to the test Saturday. How well they withstand the pressure could tell us a lot about the team’s chances this season.

The road winless streak will be snapped at some point this season–perhaps even some point soon; the Red Bulls’ next game is at Chivas USA, who have looked hapless in their first two games of the season. But it won’t happen in Seattle. If New York comes away with a point it will be a major accomplishment. Fans would be wise to adopt this attitude.

Speaking of which, both the Empire Supporters and Garden State Supporters clubs will host viewing parties Saturday night. ESC’s will be at Nevada Smith’s on Third Ave between 11th and 12th streets in Manhattan; GSS’ at MMM Bellos on Market Street in Newark, N.J. Kickoff is at 10:30pm.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Wes C. Says:

    Ljungberg is really a secondary threat, considering how dangerous Montero is up top. Much quicker off the ball, can switch up play in a flash. Frustrate Freddy enough and you can count him to self distruct. Our back 4 will def. be tested tomorrow night. Saw a few chances given up from our centre backs by shoddy marking and allowing the forwards to sneak past them. Hoping for a win, would be happy with a draw.

  2. afrim Says:

    petke got punked last year at seattle….im expecting much better this year

  3. ASN Editorial Says:

    Agreed though if memory serves it was only the one play (the third goal) that was really embarrassing.

  4. afrim Says:

    petke got punked last year at seattle….im expecting much better this year

  5. ASN Editorial Says:

    Agreed though if memory serves it was only the one play (the third goal) that was really embarrassing.

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