The New England Revolution welcome the New York Red Bulls to Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon in their last match before the MLS World Cup break. We spoke with Jason Iapicco of Once a Metro to learn more about the 2014 Red Bulls. Check out their page for Steve's answers to Jason's questions about the match.
TBM: The Red Bulls are not off to the most auspicious start to their Supporters' Shield defense. What's different?
JI: The biggest difference for the Red Bulls from last year is the defense. Jamison Olave & Markus Holgersson were the perfect combination for center backs, Olave the enforcer, Holgersson the finesse guy. With Holgersson gone, Olave hasn't been able to build the same rapport with Armando & Ibrahim Sekagya. Additionally, Kosuke Kimura hasn't done at right back this year. In front of them, Dex McCarty was a rock on 2013, but this year he's had back problems flare up, and is now going into surgery for a knee injury.
TBM: Three wins is disappointing, but it seems like the Red Bulls can't do anything but draw these days. It's partly what has them in a position to still make a push into the top 5, but also has something to do with why they aren't there in the first place. Do you see the draws as positives or negatives?
JI: It depends on the game. Coming back against Sporting Kansas City for the draw was a huge positive, especially since it came on the back of a three game losing streak.On the flip side, in the beginning of the year, New York gave up draws to teams like Colorado and Chivas after taking a lead. The only consistent part of the Red Bulls in 2014 is how inconsistent they are.
TBM: What on Earth is going on with Bradley Wright-Phillips???
JI: If there was a movie made about his 2014 season so far, it's "How Wright-Phillips Got His Groove Back". To borrow a cliche, he's been an absolute revelation this year. He's a target forward, and that's exactly what this team has been missing. Fabian Espindola was supposed to be that, but he never built the chemistry with Thierry Henry. Somehow, Wright-Phillips and Henry just have it. If you look at the 11 goals BWP has scored this year, Henry has been involved in most of them, even if he doesn't get credit for an assist.
TBM: Give us an under-the-radar player that Revs fans should watch out for in this match.
JI: Chris Duvall was drafted by the Red Bulls with the 22nd pick in the 2014 draft. Up until May 17th, he hadn't played a single minute, since then, he has played two and a half straight straight games. He came on for Kosuke Kimura after a terrible first half against Toronto. It may only be two games so far, but he's proving that he deserves to be the starting right back, especially with the up and down performances by Kimura dating back to last year.
TBM: Finally, let's have your projected starting XI and a scoreline prediction.
JI: Starting XI: Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Armando, Ibrahim Sekagya, Bobby Convey; Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula, Eric Alexander, Ruben Bover; Bradley Wright-Phillips, Andre Akpan
Scoreline: New England 2-0 New York. New York will be missing two players to the World Cup (Tim Cahill, Roy Miller), two to turf (Henry, Olave), and Dax to injuries. I'm counting this as a throwaway and hope some of the young guys will get decent playing time.