SCOUTING REPORT | What to watch for when RBNY take on San Jose Earthquakes

The New York Red Bulls remain undefeated after four matches and plan to extend the unbeaten streak to five this week when the Red Bulls return home to host San Jose Earthquakes. This will be the only fixture of the season between New York and San Jose. The teams last met back in July 2014, in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. RBNY will be celebrating Autism Awareness Night on Friday, and a portion of each ticket purchased through this link (use promo code autism2015) will go back to support autism charities. For more information, visit newyorkredbulls.com/autismawareness.

TICKETS: RBNY vs. San Jose Quakes

Coverage of Friday night’s match between the New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. will begin at 7 p.m. EDT (TV: UniMas). The match will be broadcast in Spanish, but English audio is also available via the SAP audio feed. For more information, visit www.mlssoccer.com/sap. For tips and further directions on how to get to the game, check out the Red Bull Arena Transportation HUB.

New York Red Bulls

  • Record: 2-0-2 (8 points, second place)
  • Leading Goal Scorer: Lloyd Sam (3)
  • Assist Leader: Felipe/Bradley Wright-Phillips (2)
  • Saves Leader: Luis Robles (14)

San Jose Earthquakes

  • Record: 3-3-0 (9 points, third place)
  • Leading Goal Scorer: Chris Wondolowski (3)
  • Assist Leader: Four players tied (1)
  • Saves Leader: David Bingham (20)

All-Time Regular Season Series

  • San Jose lead series, 16-10-9
  • New York leads series at Giants Stadium/Red Bull Arena, 8-4-6
  • New York leads series at Red Bull Arena, 2-0-2

Tactics

The New York Red Bulls are expected to line up in its typical 4-2-3-1 formation. As seen in the first four matches, the objectives are to apply pressure on opponents, possess the ball and control the tempo of the game. One tactic they’ve used execute their game plan is a variation of pressing traps in order to increase their ability to win possession high up-field. RBNY have implemented pressing traps by focusing on controlling space in order to limit opponents passing lanes. Look for the Red Bulls to try to control the tempo of the match in the first home match since March 22.

San Jose has lined up in many different formations to begin the season: 4-2-3-1, a 4-1-4-1 and a 4-3-3 to name a few. The question of whether or not forward Chris Wondolowski will be in the starting eleven makes predicting head coach Dominic Kinnear’s lineup even more difficult, but an element of unpredictability has been one of the themes of the Quakes so far this season. With three wins and three losses, it’s too early to tell what kind of team San Jose will be, but with goalkeeper David Bingham third in MLS with 20 saves and seven goals allowed in six games, expect the Quakes to focus on defense and look to take advantage of counter-attacks and set-piece opportunities.

Who to Watch

For the New York Red Bulls, all eyes will be on Lloyd Sam. The midfielder has been off to a blistering start to the season, scoring three goals in four games. While in 2014 he seemed more confined to the right side of the pitch as a box-to-box player, this year he’s covering much more ground. In addition to his blazing runs down the sideline, we’ve seen him cut towards the middle of the pitch and even switch onto the left side. Sam’s goal last weekend at RFK Stadium was his third consecutive goal scored against D.C. United and earned him a spot in the MLS Team of the Week for week six.

Due to a call-up from the United States National Team, it is unclear if Quakes leading goal scorer Chris Wondolowski will participate in Friday night’s match at Red Bull Arena following Wednesday’s USA vs. Mexico Friendly in San Antonio, TX. If he does play, Wondolowski is the danger man to keep an eye on, but in the case of Wondo’s absence, the Quakes’ newest designated player Innocent Emeghara will look to step in for the missing U.S. international. Despite one goal from five games played, Emeghara is an undeniable goal threat that requires extra attention from opposing defenses. The 25-year old Swiss international will make his return from a one-match suspension on Friday.

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