The MLS-leading New York Red Bulls look to move a step closer to the Supporters Shield, with a win against a Revolution side desperate for a win to boost its playoff hopes.The MLS-leading New York Red Bulls can move a step closer to the Supporters Shield with a win on Saturday against a New England Revolution side in desperate need of a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Red Bulls return home after an impressive 1-1 draw vs. the Seattle Sounders, a result that came without star forward Thierry Henry and top defender Jamison Olave. Both standouts are expected back in the lineup to take on a New England side that should offer a stiff test at Red Bull Arena.
The Revs will be hoping for a better outcome than the last time they visited the Red Bulls, back on April 20 when Henry helped rout New England in a 4-1 victory.
Both teams have shown improvement since then, with the Red Bulls currently riding a five-match unbeaten streak built on strong defending and improved team attacking play. The steady play of wingers Jonny Steele and Eric Alexander have helped give the Red Bulls offense a more well-rounded attack.
The Red Bulls will need steady play from the wings to break down a Revs defense that has been one of the toughest in the league this season. Led by MLS Defender of the Year candidate Jose Goncalves, the Revs have allowed the second-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference, though the back line has shown some vulnerability in recent weeks.
The Revolution could see Juan Agudelo's return to the starting lineup. The former Red Bulls homegrown player has been held back by injuries throughout the season, but he has been a force when healthy and could cause problems for his former club if he is able to start.
New England will look to the creative trio of Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen to unlock a Red Bulls defense that has grown especially tough in recent weeks. New York has allowed just three goals in its past five matches.
The Revs will need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive in the East. They head into the match two points behind the Chicago Fire for the final playoff spot in the East, but the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew are also chasing the Fire for that final spot.
The Red Bulls are trying to hold on to the top spot in the East, while also staying ahead of Seattle in the Supporters Shield race. New York is a point ahead of the Sounders for the most points in MLS, but Seattle has two games in hand, meaning the Red Bulls can't afford to drop points if they want to remain on top of the league.