Emirates Cup: RBNY set to take on Arsenal, PSG
Just one day after their home stadium hosted the 2011 MLS All-Star Game, the New York Red Bulls hopped on a plane to London ahead of this weekend's Emirates Cup, hosted by Arsenal FC at Emirates Stadium.
In addition to the Red Bulls and Arsenal, the tournament features Argentine Primera club Boca Juniors and Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain.
New York will play PSG on Saturday (9 am ET, MSG+) before taking on the hosts on Sunday (11 am ET, FOX Soccer).
Here are a couple of things to look out for from the competition.
Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry — who currently leads MLS with 11 goals — is an Arsenal legend. He spent eight seasons with the Gunners, scoring 174 goals during that time, good for third highest total in Premier League history.
Henry won two league championships with the club – in 2002 and 2004 – and led them to the 2006 UEFA Champions League final.
Arsenal have struggled a bit since Henry left in 2007, failing to earn any hardware. However, Arsene Wenger’s side remains one of the Big Four in the EPL, and they possess some of the most exciting attackers in the league in the likes of Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, and Cesc Fabregas. Their potent offense put up the second most goals in the EPL last season (72), behind only champions Manchester United.
The day before taking on Arsenal, the Red Bulls will also go toe-to-toe with a Paris Saint-Germain side that is coming off of a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1, their best finish since the 2001/02 season.
Just three seasons ago, PSG’s 16th-place finish narrowly kept the Capital Club from being relegated, but a 14-goal league season by Brazilian sniper Nene has pushed them into France’s Europa League slot for the 2011/12 season.
Like New York, PSG are working in a new goalkeeper, offseason transfer Nicolas Douchez, who helped Stade Rennais finish last season with the fewest goals conceded in Ligue 1.
The Red Bulls have been challenged defensively this season, but they’ve also cored more goals than any other team in MLS. The offensive prowess may serve them well in London thanks to the unique point system of the Emirates Cup.
Teams will be awarded the usual three points for a win and one point for a draw. But for the Cup, they also receive a point for each goal scored during the competition. If teams are level on points when the final whistle has gone, the tiebreaker will be the number of shots that each team has put on target.
New York Roster
Goalkeepers (2): Frank Rost, Bouna Coundoul
Defenders (10): Chris Albright, Mike Jones, Stephen Keel, Tyler Lassiter, Rafa Marquez, Carlos Mendes, Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Teddy Schneider, Jan Gunnar Solli
Midfielders (6): Matt Kassel, Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty, Dane Richards, John Rooney, Teemu Tainio
Forwards (3): Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry, Corey Hertzog