Which Red Bulls team will show up on Saturday against New England? The team that has lost three straight in league play, or the side that dismantled a strong Juventus squad and then was dominant in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night?
The Red Bulls have played a lot of matches lately, testing their depth. It is early in the season, but this match is close to crucial. A fourth straight loss might devastate the psyche of the team.
The four things to watch for from New York on Saturday:
He’s missed just one league game, the 3-1 home loss to Columbus last Thursday, but Joel Lindpere should be back following a groin injury.
The midfielder is the vital cog of the team’s central line and the sole creative force in the four-man unit. His ability to get the ball wide and dissect the defense with diagonal balls is of vast importance, not to mention his unbelievable workrate.
Lindpere will be in the starting lineup come Saturday.
No Reservations About the Reserves
After beating Juventus 3-1 in a friendly on Sunday, the reserves looked splendid on Wednesday night in a 3-0 win over Colorado.
Head coach Hans Backe commented after the game that he thought several of the reserves were working their way into getting consistent minutes in league matches.
“We controlled all of the 90 minutes today and were great with the possession,” Backe said of their effort.
Look for Danleigh Borman, Tony Tchani and Irving Garcia to all make the bench Saturday night.
One constant this season for the Red Bulls is a weak start to the game; New York is often outplayed in the opening 10 minutes of the match.
Ironically, the Red Bulls started strong against Columbus last week but conceded goals on three defensive breakdowns.
On the road, the Red Bulls will need a strong start against the Revolution to set the tone early.
“We need to push them really hard, to put them under pressure, from the start of the game,” Lindpere said.
Albright Not Alright
A January acquisition, right back Chris Albright has looked more than solid in his limited appearances with the first team.
Still recovering from a knee injury that shelved him nearly all of last year, Albright won’t be risked on the turf of Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
“His knee is not good enough to play on turf,” Backe said.
Look for Jeremy Hall to slide into the right back slot, where he'll have some big shoes to fill.
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.