RBNY’s Faces Tough Road for Supporters’ Shield Glory

Two games remain and both are must win to claim top of the league
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Friday, October 18, 2013

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

When the Red Bulls get to the end of the regular season, it’s usually to scratch and claw for a playoff spot and try to make a run for the MLS Cup.

But this time things are different. This time they have a solid chance at winning their final two games of the regular season, and the possibility of winning the points race to claim not just home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but a spot in the next edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

RBNY manager Mike Petke and his side have a tough road ahead of them starting this coming Sunday against the Houston Dynamo and later at home against the Chicago Fire.

Back to Texas against Houston

When the Red Bulls visited BBVA Compass Stadium, they had a marvelous second half with goals by Thierry Henry, Jonny Steele and Lloyd Sam that gave them a 4-1 win on Sunday, Sept. 8.

But the Dynamo were missing players due to international duty and injuries. This time around, the score line likely won’t repeat, but maybe there is some confidence that a win can happen again.

Bradley Wright-Phillips might be available from his hamstring pull and Connor Lade is fully fit, so Petke has more of a selection for the starting XI as well as some quality off the bench.

Regular season ends against Chicago

The truth is that no matter what position in the Eastern Conference or in the league standings the Chicago Fire is in, they always play the Red Bulls tough.

While the Chicago native Mike Magee has re-energized the Fire, this side is susceptible on having a mental breakdown and the Red Bulls need to take advantage of it.

Chicago’s Sean Johnson is a fantastic goalkeeper that always finds a way to frustrate the Red Bulls on any attacking run they can muster, which leads to big time saves and the league made a great ending to this season’s schedule.

What is the outcome to the end of the Red Bulls season?

It’s really simple for Mike Petke and the Red Bulls: They have to win both games and can’t rely on any other results. That has already happened before and after their late dramatic 2-2 draw at home against the Revolution on Oct. 5.

The point’s race for them, as well as Real Salt Lake, the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City, is very tight and going down to the wire will be exciting.

This season has had a lot of ups and a few downs for the Red Bulls and somehow Petke has done the job to get this club into position for their first major hardware in the Supporters’ Shield.

Let’s see what happens when a rookie head coach can push his side into position for a solid finish as well as a good run at the MLS Cup.

NEXT UP: October 20 – New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston. 4 p.m. EST, UniMas, MLS Live, MSG

Daniel FEUERSTEIN

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.
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