PREVIEW: New York Red Bulls Open 2018 MLS Campaign Against Portland Timbers

New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers
2018 MLS Regular Season
Red Bull Arena
March 10, 2018 – 7 pm ET

(HARRISON, New Jersey)- While the rest of the league commenced Major League Soccer’s 23rd season last weekend, the New York Red Bulls welcome former MetroStar Giovanni Savarese and his Portland Timbers to town for their season opener on Saturday. New York will be coming into this contest off one of the most historic victories in club history. Jesse Marsch’s side triumphed 2-0 away to Club Tijuana on Tuesday night in CONCACAF Champions League action. Meanwhile, the Timbers are looking to kick their 2018 into gear after a 2-1 defeat to the LA Galaxy in their opener.

PREVIEW: New York Red Bulls Open 2018 MLS Campaign Against Portland Timbers

Roster Rotation

Jesse Marsch and his staff have been clear to emphasize that CCL is of the up-most importance. With an impressive, yet fragile, advantage heading into the second leg against Tijuana, the starting XI for the Red Bulls is likely going to be quite different from what fans can expect the rest of the season.

Expect a lot of rotation and some new faces in the mix. Club record signing, Kaku, will likely feature in his first start since arriving in America. A debut from Carlos Rivas is in the cards as well, to rest star Bradley Wight-Phillips, who has three goals in his last two CCL matches.

Quelling The Timbers’ Attack

The Timbers have one of the most dangerous sets of attacking players in MLS. Diego Valeri has been tearing up the league for years now, and Fanendo Adi has certainly made a name for himself. Additionally, Sebastian Blanco can make plays and finish them at will. The fact that he was able to notch a goal against the Galaxy last weekend should warn RBNY that he is entering 2018 in-form.

The young and inexperienced back-line that will probably start for New York will be hard-pressed to combat such a potent offense. No matter their age, someone will need to step up as a leader if the Red Bulls are to succeed at their home opener. This emerging leader could be Aaron Long, Tyler Adams, Connor Lade, or anyone else. It will all depend on the squad Marsch selects on Saturday.


The home crowd will finally get to see their team in action after watching a very successful preseason from their couches. There is still a lot to be excited about despite how different the lineup will look. The club’s record signing will likely have his first start, a historic moment for the team, fans, and MLS.

This rotated roster should still prove up for the task against a challenging PTFC side, which will say a lot about the Red Bulls depth. It is a test that could demonstrate to the nation that RBNY will be a formidable force in 2018, and in years to come.

Prediction: RBNY (Davis, Kaku) 2-1 (Adi) PTFC

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