It should be on offensive showdown when the New York Red Bulls (4-2-5, 3rd in East) travel to Seattle to take on the Sounders (7-3-2, 1st in West) who have only lost one game in the confines of CenturyLink Field all season. The match will kickoff at 2:00PM local time on Sunday, May 31.
Playing for 90
Seasons So Far
The Red Bulls have been joined in the Big Apple for the first time ever this year. NYCFC are last in the league right now and haven’t poised much of a threat, but NYRB still have extra motivation to make it into the playoffs for the sixth straight season. They are in somewhat of a transition campaign with long time DP’s Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill departing as well as coach Mike Petke. With Jesse Marsch at the helm, New York was undefeated through March and April, but have since faltered, winning one of their last four games and scoring a total of four goals in the month of May.
Seattle have been one of the toughest outs in MLS this year. The 2014 winners of the U.S. Open Cup have counted on a great home crowd, a stingy defense and two of the best strikers in the league to drive opponents nuts. With a large majority of last year’s team returning, look for the Sounders to once again pace the Western Conference. The Sounders are clutch and have been very good at closing out games, only losing one of their seven games that have featured two goals or less.
Players To Watch
SEA – Clint Dempsey: In his second full season with the Sounders, Dempsey has been the definition of a streaky scorer. He scored three goals in two games to open up the campaign and four in three in early May, but that’s the extent of his stat line so far this year (still good enough to be second in the league in goals). In his other five games, he has only managed two assists. It is also important that the American international get a full 90 minutes in – he has been held off the score sheet only once while playing the whole game.
NYRB – Bradley Wright-Philipps: This match not only features the second highest goal scorer for this season, but last year’s leading goal-getter as well. BWP tied a league record when he found the back of the net 27 times in the 2014 regular season, adding four more markers in the playoffs. He has been scoring at the rate of a mere mortal this year though, getting five in ten starts, but he is still firing at the net with 18 of his 37 shots being on target this year.
May 9, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA;Seattle Sounders FC defender Tyrone Mears (4) kicks the ball in the first half of the game against the Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium. The Columbus Crew SC beat the Seattle Sounders FC by the score of 3-2 Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
SEA – Tyrone Mears: After losing All-Star right-back DeAndre Yedlin to Europe, the Sounders brought in a venerable replacement. The 32-year-old Englishman (who represents Jamaica internationally) is well travelled, having spent time with Manchester City, West Ham United, Burnley and Bolton. Mears has missed all of ten minutes through 12 games and started off his Major League Soccer career by setting up a goal in his debut.
NYRB – Lloyd Sam: The English winger has been off to a great start to his fourth season in Major League Soccer. Through his first 11 games, he is on pace to double his career goal total. Sam is an important player for the Red Bulls, not only because of his ability to put the ball in the net, but because he is equally capable of setting up his teammates. His nine assists last year, tied him for second on the Red Bulls with Thierry Henry ahead of him and Eric Alexander even with him. The former has retired and the latter is in Montreal.
SEA – Obafemi Martins: The former Niagerian international hasn’t been getting as much attention as Dempsey has, and he deserves more. The ex-Inter Milan and Newcastle United striker has a higher percentage of his shots find the target (68%) than Dempsey (55%). Moreover, he was missed dearly last week against Sporting Kansas City, as the Sounders offense only managed one shot on goal with Martins out due to injury. Rest assured, the Red Bull back line will be giving him plenty of attention come Sunday.
This will be the only meeting between the two clubs this season. The all-time record through nine matches is a straight-up tie, with three wins a piece and three draws.
New York won the lone game last year by a score of 4-1. Wright-Phillips had a hat-trick and Dempsey scored for Seattle. Before that win, the Red Bulls hadn’t come away victorious versus the Sounders since 2011.
The Sounders were without striker Obafemi Martins after May 9 due to a leg injury. Good news for fans in the Emerald City is that Martins resumed training with the team on the 25th and played a complete game against Colorado midweek, registering three shots. I see no reason to think the Nigerian won’t be in the starting eleven once again.
Young defender Andres Correa is said to be close to returning to the lineup, however midfielder Gonzalo Pineda (ankle) is questionable.
As for the Red Bulls, midfielder Sal Zizzo is out indefinitely with a broken leg, while centre back Ronald Zubar (quad) has been confirmed out. Manager Jesse Marsh said earlier in the week that he hopes defenders Kemar Lawrence and Damien Perrinelle will be available for the match. Both were sidelined with hamstring injuries.
No players or personnel are suspended for either team.
Jun 7, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Referee Jose Carlos Rivero issues a yellow card to Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Lahoud (13) during the second half of the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at PPL Park. The teams played to a 3-3 draw. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Carlos Rivero will be the centre official come the 31st. Rivero was arrested for committing insurance fraud in October 2014 and promptly suspended by the Professional Referees Organization. He was reinstated in February. Brian Dunn and Mike Kampmeinert will be on the touch lines and Kevin Stott is working the board.
Weather Report (check)
The game will get underway at 2:00PM local time, so it will be a five o’clock start on the East Coast. The weather in Seattle has been absolutely beautiful all week and rain will be moving in in the early part of next week. They should get the match in before the wet weather and it looks like it will be sunny with a high of 75 degrees (24 Celsius).
The match will be broadcasted nationally on ESPN2. Sounders fans can hear the game on KIRO 97.3FM (in English) and El Rey 1360AM (Spanish). Fans in the Big Apple and around the world can tune in to live radio broadcasts in English and Spanish on the Red Bulls’ website.