MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012
(All times Eastern)
Kansas City (17-7-8) at New York (15-9-8), 7 p.m.
Harrison, NJ (Sports Network) - After looking like it could challenge for the
top spot in the Eastern Conference for much of the season, Red Bull New York
finds itself fighting for its playoff life with just two games to go.
The Red Bulls can clinch a postseason berth with a victory over Sporting
Kansas City at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, but they certainly have struggled
against the better teams in MLS this season.
New York's home form has been called into question of late as well. After
going nearly the entire season without losing a match at Red Bull Arena, the
club has lost two of their last three at the venue, most recently falling to
the Chicago Fire.
"I know we're not performing as we normally can," said Jan Gunnar Solli, "and
especially at home, it's just frustrating as the game goes. I feel like we
created chances in the first half [against Chicago], in the second half I felt
like it was a battle out there and neither team was creating many chances
until they scored the first goal."
There are some selection concerns for Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe ahead of
the massive clash. Brandon Barklage is not expected to be available after
suffering a plantar fascia injury in training, while Wilman Conde will not
feature due to personal reasons.
"We can probably choose from Connor Lade, Heath Pearce, Solli," Backe said.
"[Jonathan] Borrajo is a fourth option, but two of these four guys have to
play on Saturday."
Sporting is sure to provide a stern test to New York's aspirations of taking
Kansas City comes into the match riding a 10-game unbeaten streak in league
play, its longest such streak of the season.
The Eastern Conference leaders are led by Graham Zusi, who leads MLS with 15
assists this season, and C.J. Sapong, who has scored three goals in his last
The break for international fixtures is one thing that could potentially slow
Sporting down. Striker Kei Kamara featured for the Sierra Leone national team,
and Zusi was involved for the United States.
"Zusi obviously had a great game the last time he played, and hopefully he
gets another run at it," left back Seth Sinovic said. "Kei's got a lot of
traveling to do. Hopefully, they both come back fresh."
10/19 16:57:40 ET