Supporters’ Shield leaders go on the road: Red Bulls-New England Preview

Supporters' Shield Revolution

HARRISON, New Jersey– The New York Red Bulls hold an imperious record on home soil but their resolve will certainly be put to the test when the Revs are in town. Seattle’s recent couple of losses, that have seen Brian Schmetzer field a younger and/or weakened side means that New England now lead the Supporters’ Shield race. Will the dominance keep rolling on with a win over the Red Bulls?

Supporters’ Shield leaders go on the road: Red Bulls-New England Preview

Bruce Arena’s side have passed every test this season with flying colors and their backing to win the Shield has gone from whispers to a very loud noise that is hard to ignore. The MVP situation is one that could be talked about for so long and Spaniard Carles Gil has to be at the heart of all discussions. Gil has Carlos Valderrama’s league assist record firmly in his sights and a player of that caliber can truly make the difference at crunch time.

The Revs will face a New York Red Bulls side who under Gerhard Struber are an intriguing outfit. The season-ending injury to star center back Aaron Long was huge cause for concern but whether it be the rise of Caden Clark or the emergence of a synergy between Fabio and Patryk Klimala, they make up for Long’s absence elsewhere.

The pair in the backend of June and fresh off of the international break, New England beat the Red Bulls and their city rivals NYCFC in quick succession, both by a 3-2 score line. To expect the same levels of entertainment this time around would be ambitious but given the defensive holes that the Shield leaders have to contend with, you never know.

Some of the more impressive results that have got the Revs to this place in the Shield standings have been wins over last year’s MLS Cup winners Columbus, the high-flying CF Montreal and NYCFC too. There was a slight bump in the road earlier this month but they have turned it around spectacularly. They beat Atlanta United 1-0 which proved to be the final nail in Gabriel Heinze’s coffin, they put five past Inter Miami which pushes Phil Neville closer towards the door and then they edged out the aforementioned CF Montreal in their last fixture.

In terms of the players at the disposal of Bruce Arena for the Revs and the relatively clean bill of health continues. Polish forward Adam Buksa is said to be ready to go and whilst the same goes for DeJuan Jones, young and in-form defender Jon Bell is out. This paired with Henry Kessler’s Gold Cup call-up poses some real questions for New England, it will be interesting to see if the likes of Fabio and Patryk Klimala can expose any defensive frailties.

From the team driving the race for the Shield to a Red Bulls side who are just below the playoff line as it stands. As previously mentioned, Aaron Long is out injured thus an amalgamation of Sean Nelis, young Andres Reyes, Amro Tarek and Englishman Tom Edwards have filled the void, with a mixed range of success. Leipzig-bound Caden Clark has scored some great goals this season and the forward-line is beginning to look more and more fluid but when they don’t click, weaknesses at the back don’t allow the Red Bulls to keep their heads above water.

It is heavily trodden ground but Matt Turner and Tajon Buchanan are still at the Gold Cup and so when you pair that with Bell’s injury, the Revs certainly aren’t indestructible even though they are the top-dogs when it comes to the Shield. It would be remiss of me not to mention the form of Gustavo Bou in front of goal and so his relationship with the magician that is Gil can often be the difference maker!

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