New York comes into Saturday’s game against Seattle in search of their first back-to-back win since August of last year. Thanks to their league opener on Saturday—a 1-0 victory over Chicago—the Red Bulls head onto the road with some confidence, which is perhaps a new feeling for this team. Last year, New York did not win a single road game and mustered just two ties as a visitor.
Here are five things to watch for when the Red Bulls kick off their road campaign on Saturday.
1. Carl Robinson to start: It was clear from practice this week that the midfielder expects to be healthy and back on the field against Seattle. After missing the season opener against Chicago, Robinson should be in the starting 11 Saturday night. The expected recovery for this type of knee injury is 7-10 days, and Robinson said that last Saturday "came a little early" in the healing process. He may not be ready to play a full 90, but Seth Stammler is back in the mix as well and could be a second-half sub for Robinsion.
2. Maintaining shape: Despite Chicago holding much of the run of play last week in the second half, the New York defense held firm. Midfielder Danleigh Borman credited the defensive scheme and the team playing a compact style. New York is going to be willing to concede space out wide and force teams to beat them with crosses and going over the top.
3. Coundoul it again?: There is no denying that goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul is among the most athletic and talented goalkeepers in the league, but consistency has always been a struggle for him. Following two solid displays in as many weekends, Coundoul will need to play big against a Seattle offense that last year scored more than double the number of goals at Qwest Field as their opponents.
4. The Freddie factor: Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg is still recovering from a knee to his back in last Thursday’s win over Philadelphia and is questionable for the game. Though he is doing some light training, the pain has not substantially subsided for the former EPL midfielder. New York head coach Hans Backe praised Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso for running the Seattle midfield and also lauded the play of Steve Zakuani on the wing, so don’t expect New York to disrespect a Ljunberg-less midfield.
5. Going for the win: Last year, New York got manhandled in Seattle and looked like a team in disarray. Backe vowed that this team will stick to their game plan and seek three points on their first roadtrip of the season. Last year the team scored just three goals and conceded 27 on the road. “We’re a different team than last year,” forward John Wolyniec said.