The first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New England Revolution is set to be held at Red Bull Arena Sunday, November 23.
The Red Bulls enter the Conference Championship after defeating top-seeded D.C. United 3-2 on aggregate, while New England advanced from the Semifinals by eliminating the Columbus Crew 7-3 on aggregate with two back-to-back wins.
This weekend’s matchup will mark the third meeting between the clubs this season, with the Red Bulls emerging victorious in both matches.
The Revolution lead the playoff series against the Red Bulls boasting a 3-1-2 all-time record, but have never won a match at Red Bull Arena (0-5-1 in six attempts).
New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke on the emotions ahead of tomorrow’s game:
“One game, that’s all it is. That’s what our mindset has been since I took over two years ago. We’ve never looked past the game at hand…Of course there’s importance to it, we all know…They need to stay focused, don’t let the game become bigger than what we’re trying to accomplish here. I think we have enough experienced guys that they understand that, and they’re focused.”
Peguy Luyindula has enjoyed plenty of playoff success this MLS Cup campaign, recording two goals and two assists in three matches. What’s even more impressive is that he’s made his strong impact felt in such a short time on the pitch. His two assists came against Sporting KC in 25 minutes, while he scored in each leg of the Conference Semifinals playing only 75 and 76 minutes in the matches.
Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips have also enjoyed success thus far, each contributing often in the scoring department. Henry has provided four assists, while the MLS Golden Boot winner has scored three goals and one helper.
New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill on the keys to success in the Conference Finals:
“It’s obviously a tactical battle, but for us at home in front of a full house, then we need to show up and really play the football we know how to play. I think if we minimize their main players then the others have to step up, and in games like this, it’s whoever wants to show up at the right time and do something great for their club. It’s a good opportunity for both clubs to properly put themselves on the map. For us, it’s a unique situation where we can actually bring some more success to this club and what it deserves.”
New England clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference by finishing 8-1-1 in their final ten matches.
Lee Nguyen, New England’s MVP candidate, is the key to the Revolution’s success in this series. Despite scoring a team-high 18 goals to go along with 5 assists, none of them have come against the Red Bulls this season. Nguyen will need to find a way to make an impact in the upcoming matches in order for his team to have the best chance of advancing to the MLS Cup.
The first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, November 23 at Red Bulls Arena in Harrison, New Jersey will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET (TV: NBC). The two-legged series will conclude on Saturday, November 29 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.