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Eastern Conference Championship

Preview: Slumping NY look to regroup vs. FC Dallas

RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.

6 p.m. ET (Galavisión; MSG; FS-SW+)

July 23, 2011 (WEEK 19; MLS Game 185)

The New York Red Bulls return home to the friendly confines of Red Bull Arena when they take on FC Dallas on Saturday evening. The Red Bulls continued their recent rough road form at midweek, falling 4-1 to the Colorado Rapids. FC Dallas kicked off a two-game road swing in league play with a quality result, a 1-0 win at Toronto FC, also on Wednesday evening.

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REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: John McCloskey

MLS Career: 63 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 20; pens: 18

INJURY REPORT: NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: MF Carl Robinson (R knee contusion); DF Rafael Marquez (R hamstring strain); FW Luke Rodgers (plantar fasciitis) … FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); FW Maykel Galindo (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Andrew Jacobson (R hamstring); DF Zach Loyd (R knee strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DAL: Fabian Castillo (Colombia U-20)

SUSPENDED: DAL: Jackson Goncalves (caution accumulation; through July 23)

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Roy Miller, Luke Rodgers … DAL: Daniel Hernandez,  Brek Shea

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Mehdi Ballouchy, Carlos Mendes, Dane Richards … DAL: Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Andrew Jacobson, Zach Loyd

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (36 meetings): Red Bulls 17 wins (1 shootout), 51 goals… FC Dallas 16 wins (0 shootout), 57 goals … Ties 3

AT NEW YORK (19 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins (1 shootout), 27 goals … FC Dallas 8 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals … Ties 1

RETURN MATCH: 9/17: FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS)

4/17: NY 2, DAL 1 (Angel 56, 90 – McCarty 10)

9/16: DAL 2, NY 2 (Rodriguez 24; Alexander 68 – Ballouchy 45; own goal 82)

  • New York has won the last four meetings between the clubs at home, including a 2-1 win last April 17 in their first meeting at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls won the final three encounters at Giants Stadium, following a 2-1 FCD win in 2006.
  • Coaches' records: Hans Backe vs. DAL: P2 W1 L0 D1 … Schellas Hyndman v NY: P5 W1 L3 D1

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls crashed to a stunning defeat, falling 4-1 to the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Red Bulls have 29 points from 22 games, second in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Sainey Nyassi gave the Rapids the lead after just two minutes, exchanging a one-two with Omar Cummings at the top of the penalty area before placing a right foot shot past Frank Rost in the Red Bulls goal.
  • Nyassi nearly hit a second in the 26th minute, his low drive from outside the area hitting the base of the left post, but Wells Thompson streaked in to slot home the rebound.
  • Five minutes later, though, Nyassi did scored his second, racing through the heart of the Red Bulls on a dribbling run and firing a shot high into the goal. On the hour, he scored his third with a similar run through the heart of the defense, nutmegging Carlos Mendes before sliding the ball under Rost.
  • Thierry Henry was able to pull a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 67th minute, scoring his league-leading 10th goal of the season from just inside the penalty box after Juan Agudelo pulled back a centering pass from the right.
  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Mehdi Ballouchy came back into the team for Teemu Tainio.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Frank Rost - Jan Gunnar Solli, Tim Ream, Carlos Mendes, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty (Chris Albright 71) - Dane Richards, Mehdi Ballouchy, Thierry Henry - Juan Agudelo, Joel Lindpere.

TEAM NEWS

  • It was the second time in less than a month that the Red Bulls allowed four goals in a game, after conceding that many in the loss at Seattle Sounders FC on June 23.
  • "I would say a nightmare defending, probably, in the middle of the park. A nightmare for our two center backs and the center midfield, which is very important, to block in the middle of the park,” said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. “But we didn’t show up in the first half if we’re talking about defending."
  • After keeping a clean sheet in his MLS debut, Frank Rost was beaten for four goals in his second game in the league.
  • "When you give up that much space for those kinds of players with that pace they have, and they can turn in between our midfield and back four, then they are deadly with the pace they have,” Backe said. “I don’t know really why we gave away that space; our back four probably should have stepped out much higher on the pitch and kept the team tight. But being three down at halftime, then it’s a long way in."
  • Thierry Henry’s goal – his 10th of the season, giving him the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings – snapped a goalless drought of 338 minutes in all competitions for the Red Bulls.
  • Teemu Tainio was not able to play after aggravating a thigh injury during pregame warmups, his place taken by Mehdi Ballouchy.
  • “It just seemed like the legs were heavy, for whatever reason,’’ said Ballouchy. “And our shape, we didn’t slide for each other and didn’t defend for each other.’’
  • Juan Agudelo recorded his first MLS assist on the goal by Henry. "Up front, it was a difficult game for Agudelo, because we made so many mistakes between each other," Backe said. "I haven't seen that many in one and a half years with this team, probably."
  • The Red Bulls have been away from home in six of their last eight games, and have taken four draws and two losses in those contests.
  • The Red Bulls are winless in their last nine games away from Red Bull Arena (since a 4-0 win at D.C. United on April 21) – but have taken points on seven of those.
  • “At halftime we knew that we had to go out there and not let this be a total humiliation and I think we played better in the second half but still it ended 1-1. So it was not a good game for us," said defender Jan Gunnar Solli.

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas returned to their winning ways, going to BMO Field and coming away with a 1-0 victory against Toronto FC on Wednesday evening. FCD has 38 points from 21 games on the season, in a tie for second place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came four minutes after the second-half restart. Brek Shea picked up the ball in midfield, went haring forward and finished it off by thundering a left-footed shot from outside the box into the upper left corner.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to the team that reached a goalless draw with D.C. United at Pizza Hut Park. Eric Avila came into the team, replacing Zach Loyd.
  • FC DALLAS (4-1-3-1-1): Kevin Hartman - Jackson, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez - Daniel Hernandez - Eric Avila (Andrew Jacobson 63), Eric Alexander (Bruno Guarda 71), Brek Shea - Ricardo Villar (Bobby Warshaw 80) - Marvin Chavez.

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas made sure their winless streak would not reach three games – which would have been a season-high – in the win in Toronto.
  • “I thought we really played well in the first half, the first 20 minutes we did everything we wanted to do,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman. “A great goal by Brek Shea and then created some other opportunities that we weren’t quite good enough to put away.”
  • It was a second consecutive shutout for FCD and a fourth in the last five games. FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman now has 11 shutouts on the season, three ahead of the next ‘keeper on the MLS leaderboard, Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake.
  • “I am fortunate that I have 10 other guys on the field that are really willing to step up and play both ways,” Hartman said. “I’ve been on a lot of teams where guys are going to be offensively oriented but I really feel like we are really in tune with the fact that if we are able to get shutouts we will a have great chance of winning.”
  • Brek Shea scored his ninth goal of the season, moving him into a tie for second place for the MLS Golden Boot, after New York’s Thierry Henry scored his 10th goal of the year Wednesday night at Colorado.
  • “Every time you score, you get more confidence and then you play with more confidence and that’s how my season’s been,” Shea said. “I keep building on what I’ve been doing and it’s helped my success.”
  • The visit to Toronto was the first for FC Dallas since last year’ MLS Cup Final, a 2-1 loss to Colorado.
  • “There were definitely some memories from the final last year during warm-ups but during the game, the team fought hard,” Shea said. “We had a lot of chances in the first half — I thought we should have scored maybe a goal or two. But once we got that goal in the second half, we kind of sat back and finished the game out.”
  • The visit to Toronto also started a week-long road trip that continues with the visit to New York, then goes on with a trip to El Salvador and the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round tie against Alianza FC.
  • “I think the team is really looking forward to the whole trip,” said Hyndman. “We got three games in the span of a week in three different countries, so it’s going to be quite a trip for us and I think the guys are looking forward to competing.”
  • Andrew Jacobson was able to come on as a substitute after being forced off early in the league game vs. Real Salt Lake, then missing the Open Cup match vs. RSL and the league game vs. D.C. United entirely.
  • “He passed his fitness test and he’s made great improvements,” Hyndman said. “But he’s still black and blue. We [were]  hoping to have him come off the bench and hopefully, by the time New York comes around, he’ll be ready to go."