By: Milos Kosic
Last time the Red Bulls went to San Jose, the New York team suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat, but don’t expect anything similar to happen this Saturday, when they travel to California for their first play-off match against the Earthquakes. With the arrival of top players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez last summer, Hans Backe’s side has been reborn. In their last six home games they won four times and lost only once. They went to Los Angeles and completely outplayed Beckham and his company. They went to Canada and destroyed Toronto FC. It’s fair to say that their performance is finally at the level of a team that deserves to win the title.
Becke’s team plays a very patient soccer. They often allow the opponents to move forward and then catch them off guard with a fast counter-attack. Winger Dane Richards, who’s been brilliant this season, proved to be the Red Bulls most powerful weapon and when paired with Henry, the two players seem able to win the game all by themselves. Marquez settled well at his position of a defensive midfielder, serving both as a playmaker and the defense leader. The Red Bulls are very disciplined and hard to break. They conceded only two goals in their last six home games.[picappgallerysingle id=”9981844″]
The Earthquakes only hope is to get a very good result on Saturday, because it is almost certain that their visit to New York on Nov. 4 will result in a defeat. For the first play-off game, the Red Bulls cannot count on their two strikers, Thierry Henry and Salou Ibrahim. The team’s recent away defeat against Philadelphia showed that they are not invincible, but still, it will come as a major shock if the Earthquakes end up progressing into the next round.