New York Red Bulls v. Toronto FC Preview
Formalities out of the way:
The game is Sunday March 6th, 2016 at Red Bull Arena at 1:30PM EST. You can catch it on MSG on your television sets or at a bar where you should probably be watching this stellar season opening matchup.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
As Lee Iacocca used to say, “I’ve always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” The Red Bulls love speed on the wings, high pressure, and high defensive lines. Presumably the mandate for high action came down from the boss’s boss’s boss aka RED BULL but regardless of where it came from they’ve turned this tactic into clear, positive results. Their stats on shots per game and possession for last season were among the highest in the league. Defensively their high pressure had them at 1 and 2 respectively in offsides and tackles per game.
Alex Rodriguez once said, “I’m excited (after hitting for the cycle), but I guess it hasn’t hit me yet. I’m only the second Mariner to do it and the other is Jay Buhner, who can’t run.” Often times a team’s best player is also a dick. Toronto FC does not suffer from this ailment as Sebastian Giovinco is a delight to watch both on the field and off. He is the key to this Toronto FC team winning the title this year, but he cannot and will not be tasked with carrying the entire workload on his shoulders this time around. Strong upgrades at defense and goalie mean that the offense in general should be more free and able to move into the opponent’s half as an entire unit.
HEY, WATCH THESE GUYS
New York Red Bulls
- Luis Robles: bet you didnt think this list would start with a goalie. Luis is finally getting some love from USMNT and was 2015 Goalkeeper of the year in MLS.
- Mike Grella: he’s from Nassau County on Long Island and guess what if he can navigate the Meadowbrook parkway at rush hour I don’t see any problem getting through the upgraded, but untested Toronto defense.
- Sacha Kljestan: this one’s obvious: mustache
- Bradley Wright-Phillips and Shaun Wright-Phillips: the former had a team-leading 17 goals last season, the latter is injured but he’s SWP and generally physical shortcomings do not hold him back. Wikipedia has him at a generous 5’5″. The Brothers Phillip are a force even when only one of them is playing.
- Felipe: Tony Stark’s Brazilian cousin. Started all 34 games for the Red Bulls in 2015 and has started a minimum of 28 games in his other 3 MLS seasons
- Jozy Altidore: aka Lean Jozy, aka Hamstrung Jozy. Will most likely not play due to a hamstring injury (Not the Onion) but his presence will be felt on the sideline nonetheless, probably breaking into a bag of Kale chips or showing off a couple of downward facing dogs.
- The Toronto Defense: upgrade season around the back line of Toronto and its not the S cycle. Steven Beitashour, Drew Moor and Clint Irwin all ready to show they can represent the missing link to a prolonged playoff run.
- Seba Giovinco: listen not much more needs to be said about the Atomic Ant. He is spectacular don’t take your eyes off him as he will not stop moving and creating chances.
- Michael Bradley: a true professional that will look to control his position and feed the Atomic Ant
- Will Johnson: bringing some champagne charisma to the squad off the back of his MLS Cup winning season with the Portland Timbers. It is always helpful to have a guy in the squad that has won it before and got a little taste of the good stuff
- Tsubasa Endoh: pronounced, Tsubasa Endoh. He is from Tokyo, was drafted in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and played 4 seasons at Maryland here in the US. I don’t like this signing, I love it. His injection of youth and skilled wing play could turn the Triangle of Treachery into the Quixotic Quadrilateral