New York Red Bulls celebrate (Sept. 22, 2013)

Shorthanded Red Bulls eager to test themselves against a star-studded Seattle Sounders lineup

HARRISON, N.J. – Shorthanded or not, the New York Red Bulls are eagerly looking forward to this one.

The Red Bulls are set to make a visit to CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Sounders on Sunday (9 pm ET; ESPN) in a battle of the top two teams in MLS. Much of the talk in the build-up to the game has been about the probable absences of marquee players like Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave and how that could doom New York’s chances of winning the Supporters’ Shield, but that has overshadowed just how excited the Red Bulls are to test their wits against a star-studded Sounders side in front of their huge fan base.

“For us as footballers, to go to that place, the fans are amazing,” said midfielder Tim Cahill. “They do really give a lift and they seem to suck the ball in the net even though some times it doesn’t deserve to go in net.

“I know for a fact that we’re going to need 14 players for that game and we’re going to have to have tactics to change things up and adapt to different styles of what they’re going to do. I’m confident that we can work hard this week to prepare and hopefully give them a good battle. I think this will be the hardest test of our season, away at Seattle.”

Seattle are currently riding a wave of good form, having gone unbeaten in their last six games and losing just once in their last 11. But the league-leading Red Bulls do not sound like a team that is intimidated by that. Instead, they seem eager to challenge themselves against a squad that boasts talents like Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins.

“It’s going to be a fun one, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Dax McCarty. “I’ll probably be singing a different tune when we’ve got 40-50,000 people barking against us in Seattle and it should be a great atmosphere.

“Our depth is going to be tested again, but it’s going to be a huge game. If we can get a result up there, a win or even a draw, I think we have to consider that a positive because we have a couple of teams directly competing us with the Supporters’ Shield but obviously they are right behind us.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for He can be reached by email at

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