The New York Red Bulls welcome in rookie coach Pablo Mastroeni and his Colorado Rapids in what’s expected to be a beautiful Saturday afternoon (March 15, 2014, 1:00 PM Pacific) at Red Bull Arena.
Mike Petke was unable to call up Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave for duty during last weeks pummeling at the hands of Vancouver, along with Tim Cahil not showing full fitness after appearing for Australia just three days before. The midfield will be up for grabs, Petke has promised a two-horse race for spots between Sam and Alexander; Sam who last week impressed out wide while Alexander sat in the center. However, getting Henry back on the team sheet is a big plus for Petke and his men.
Colorado on the other hand wasn’t involved in last weeks opening weekend schedule and this will be club icon Mastroeni’s first game as a head coach. Colorado made a quiet but significant trade to acquire Marvin Chavez from San Jose, the quick and versatile winger will add a new dimension to the Colorado attack. The loss of Atiba Harris was a big one, how the club plans to replace him is yet to be seen.
New York will line up with a familiar eleven come Saturday, Robles will remain in goal while anchored by Kimura, Olave, Sekagya and Convey. The midfield will be a battle for places, I predict McCarty and Cahill in the center flanked by Sam and Steele. The front line will be led by legend Thierry Henry and by fellow Frenchman Luyindula.
Kimura Olave Sekagya Convery
Sam Cahill McCarty Steele
Rookie coach Mastroeni would be a fool to try and implement any new tactics ahead of this opener. Irwin will start in goal, his defense will include Wynne, Sturgis, Moor and Klute. Midfield will see Chavez flanked while the center of the park being occupied by Labrocca and Mari. And up top US international Edson Buddle along with goal leader last year Deshorn Brown.
Wynee Sturgis Moor Klute
Chavez Mari Labrocca Serna
Prediction: New York 3-1 Colorado.
TV Info: MLS Live, Directv Channel 471, & MSG.