New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids | MLS Match Preview

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs COLORADO RAPIDS
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
March 15, 2014 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #9)
4 p.m. ET (UDN; MSG; Altitude)

The New York Red Bulls make their 2014 home debut against a team making its bow for the new season as the Colorado Rapids visit Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Red Bulls opened defense of their Supporters’ Shield with a 4-1 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC a week ago. The Rapids kick off their season under the command of long-time icon Pablo Mastroeni, who was handed the head coaching reins just before the start of the campaign.

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REFEREE: Alan Kelly. SAR (bench): Caleb Mendez; JAR (opposite): Dimitar Chadarav; 4th: Marc Lawrence
MLS Career: 1 game; FC/gm: 40.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 0; pens: 0

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (37 meetings): Red Bulls 15 wins (0 shootout), 57 goals … Rapids 17 wins (0 shootout), 57 goals … Ties 5
AT NEW YORK (18 meetings): Red Bulls 9 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals…Rapids 7 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals … Ties 2

LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/4: COL 2, NY 0 (Sturgis 47; Brown 68)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Rapids have never won at Red Bull Arena. New York has won two of the three league meetings between the teams all-time in Harrison (with one draw).
  • Colorado’s last win at New York came May 30, 2009 at Giants Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Mike Petke vs. COL: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. NY: first game

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls saw their defense of the Supporters’ Shield get off to a difficult opening, falling 4-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. The Red Bulls have 0 points from 1 match on the new season.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC opened the scoring from the in the 34th minute, after New York defender Richard Eckersley was ruled to have handled the ball in the box. Kenny Miller finished coolly from the spot, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner as goalkeeper Luis Robles dived the opposite direction.
  • Sebastian Fernandez doubled Vancouver's lead on 50 minutes, hitting a powerful, swerving effort into the top right corner from outside the area that Robles was not able to keep out of the net.
  • Miller then scored his second in the 77th minute, lobbing a bouncing ball over Robles expertly after substitute Pedro Morales set the effort up with a beautifully weighted ball over the top of the New York back line.
  • Morales added the icing on top in the 89th minute, finishing inside the area after Nigel Reo-Coker teed him up after making a run into the right side of the area.
  • The Red Bulls scored a consolation goal in the first minute of stoppage time when Bradley Wright-Phillips netted from a flicked header from a cross from the left side.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke had Richard Eckersley, Armando and Bobby Convey all installed in a new-look back four to open the new season.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Richard Eckersley, Armando, Ibrahim Sekagya, Bobby Convey - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Ruben Bover 84), Jonny Steele (Roy Miller 64) - Tim Cahill, Peguy Luyindula (Bradley Wright-Phillips 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls saw their winless streak in season openers extended to three matches, all of which have come on the road.
  • For the opener, Petke chose not to include Thierry Henry in his side, partnering Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula in attack. For much of the preseason, Luyindula had figured as an attacking midfielder.
  • “I got it completely wrong," Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. "So it comes down to me. My gameplan obviously was wrong. The whole focus was for the first game, the whole preseason and the week leading up. With the result, obviously I got it wrong.”
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the lone goal for the Red Bulls. Wright-Phillips has scored each of the last two goals New York has scored, also netting in the Red Bulls’ 2-1 loss to Houston in the second game of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.
  • “You could see towards the end of the [2013] season, he would’ve been a great asset for us in the playoffs but we didn’t go further, unfortunately for us,” Henry said. “This year he came back. He scored [three times in the preseason]. … Now [that he’s] ready you can see, hopefully, more of [his] value and how valuable [he] can be for us.”
  • Petke also did not start Jamisón Olave, running out three newcomers in Richard Eckersley, Armando and Bobby Convey in his back four.
  • “What I said to the players is get it out of your head, go home, reflect a little bit, and I will do my best to come up with something better. ... My approach to the game. Putting players in better spots, analysing a little better, and giving the players better information.”
  • Lloyd Sam was given the start on the right side of the midfield, with Eric Alexander moved into a central midfield spot alongside Dax McCarty.
  • “I played Eric in the middle this past game, but I also see him just as much as an outside guy that could interchange with Lloyd,” said Petke. “I have no issues making these changes every couple of games, no matter how they’re both playing. It’s to keep players sharp, keep them rested, to not get them too comfortable.”

COLORADO RAPIDS
With long-time icon Pablo Mastroeni having taken over the head coaching reins, the Colorado Rapids kick off their 2014 season. The Rapids did return to the MLS Cup Playoffs last season after a one-year absence, falling to Seattle Sounders FC in the Knockout Round.

TEAM NEWS

  • After the departure of Oscar Pareja to FC Dallas, Pablo Mastroeni assumed the head coaching duties during the offseason on an interim basis, given the job full-time following the preseason.
  • “I don’t think it’s going to be any crazy transition,” Moor said. “Pablo’s just someone who I’ve always respected so much as an authority figure, because of what he did on the field when he was a player. He’s been in a coaching type of role for the past three or four seasons, in my opinion. He’ll always be my friend without doubt, but he’s always had my full respect as an authority figure.”
  • The Rapids concluded their preseason schedule with a 4-2-2 record, ending their schedule with a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution in the final match of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz.
  • Deshorn Brown and Vicente Sánchez netted goals for the Rapids; Brown ended the preseason with four goals in six games.
  • Here’s the Rapids team: Clint Irwin (John Berner 81); Nathan Sturgis (Shane O’Neill 50), Drew Moor (Jared Watts 72), Marvell Wynne (Grant Van De Casteele 72), Chris Klute (Albert Edward 72); José Mari (Juan Guzman 72), Nick LaBrocca (Marlon Hairston 72); Dillon Serna (Marvin Chávez 72), Dillon Powers (Vicente Sánchez 46), Kamani Hill (Charles Eloundou 72); Edson Buddle (Gabriel Torres 56)
  • Brown scored goals in both of Jamaica’s friendlies during the international window, against both Barbados and Saint Lucia, and has two goals in his six international appearances.
  • The Rapids also secured the signature of Spanish midfielder José Mari after his trial during preseason. José Mari has been training with the club while awaiting the arrival of his visa and transfer certificate.
  • “It is special for me to be a part of the Colorado Rapids,” José Mari said in a statement. “This is an important club, and I’m happy to be a part of this wonderful group. I hope we can accomplish great things, both individually and collectively, and I will be giving everything to help the team be as successful as possible.”
  • The Rapids will have a new-look back four with Mastroeni in charge. Marvell Wynne has been moved back to central defense after playing much of last season at right back, while Shane O’Neill has shifted to right back. Wynne will partner Drew Moor in the center of the backline.
  • “When you have two experienced players playing side by side, you’re going to be able to communicate better, you’re going to be able to manage that backline better,” Mastroeni said. “I think [communication] is the difference between minimalizing the gaffes in games and minimalizing the transition moments in games, and I think [Wynne and Moor] have done a really good job in preseason together.”
  • Said Wynne: “It’s home. The adjustment has actually come fairly easily. It’s kind of a comfortable position being back there. I like having to run backwards instead of forward all the time, to be honest.”

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

IN: DF Marc Burch (12/12/13 - Re-Entry Stage 1); MF Marvin Chávez (1/7/14 - trade from San Jose); MF Marlon Hairston (1/16/14 - SuperDraft); DF Grant van de Casteele (1/16/14 - SuperDraft); GK Joe Nasco (2/12/14 - free); MF Jared Watts (2/12/14 - SuperDraft); GK John Berner (2/18/14 - SuperDraft); MF José Mari (3/4/14 - free)

OUT: DF Diego Calderón (11/21/13 - loan expired); MF Jaime Castrillón (12/9/13 - option declined); GK Steward Ceus (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Jamie Smith (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Anthony Wallace (12/9/13 - out of contract); FW Atiba Harris (1/7/14 - traded to San Jose); MF Jamie Smith (1/10/14 - retired); MF Tony Cascio (1/21/14 - loaned to Houston); MF Hendry Thomas (2/12/14 - traded to FC Dallas); DF Kory Kindle (2/18/14 - retired)