New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake Preview

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The New York Red Bulls continue their stretch of Western Conference foes this Saturday as they face Real Salt Lake. The Red Bulls are coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss at the hand of the Seattle Sounders. They got outplayed in virtually every category imaginable in this match. This weekend will once again be a tough outing, as they will face another team desperate for their first win of 2017.

New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake Preview

A Team In Need of a Boost

The Red Bulls have not impressed this season despite being 2-0-1. Two out of the four goals they have scored this season have been own goals. Their passing has not been crisp and they have struggled to consistently put dangerous chances on net . The Red Bulls are in desperate need of a strong showing on both ends of the ball this weekend. Real Salt Lake are in their first game since firing coach Jeff Cassar and will be missing many key players due to injury and National Team duties. This, combined with better weather and a strong crowd, can push the Red Bulls to get the strong win they desperately need.

Revolving Forwards

The Red Bulls have had a revolving door of forwards partner up with Bradley Wright-Phillips this season. They started with Alex Muyl, tried Derrick Etienne Jr., and most recently went with Fredrik Gulbrandsen. One of these need to become the everyday starter if chemistry is to develop.  Out of this trio, Etienne and Gulbrandsen had the best showings. However, Mike Grella is getting himself back to 90 minutes fit and may challenge for the starting spot as well. It will be interesting to see who Jesse Marsch pairs up top with BWP this weekend against a beaten and battered RSL side.

No Sacha, No Problem?

Sacha Kljestan’s start to the 2017 season has certainly been poor. Zero goals and one assist is certainly not what the MLS MVP-Finalist envisioned this season starting for him. Whether poor form or just the inability to play well in the 4-2-2-2, Kljestan has been invisible for the Red Bulls. His poor service on set pieces has been very uncharacteristic as well. for With Kljestan called into U.S National team duty for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, it is a good time to see if the problem is Kljestan or indeed the formation.

Predicted Lineup

Prediction

This is a game that the Red Bulls have to take advantage of. I believe the Red Bulls will press hard from the early going to grab that first goal. This first goal will cause RSL to chase, causing them to go to their bench earlier then they want. The tiring legs will open up more holes for the Red Bulls to exploit. However, with Real Salt Lake desperate for their first win, the Red Bulls will need to whether a few storms of their own. In the end, given the circumstances of Real Salt Lake’s depleted roster I see the Red Bulls coming out on top here in this one.

Score: 4-1 Red Bulls