Now that the preseason is in the rear view, Hans Backe and the rest of the Red Bulls can prepare for Sunday’s 3pm ET match against FC Dallas.
Last season, the Red Bulls went a combined 2-0-1 against Brek Shea and company, including New York’s first-round wild card win in the postseason. The two sides also met during the preseason stint in Mexico in what amounted to a 2-0 Red Bulls victory. Good as it was to check off a friendly on the Red Bulls’ preseason list, Backe is well aware that the team awaiting them Sunday will look much different.
“That friendly game will not help because it was a poor pitch and both teams changed at half time – the full squad, the full Starting 11,” said Backe. But he was quick to admit that, based on previous meetings, both teams “know each other very well.”
One question mark in Dallas camp is hovering over the name David Ferreira, the 32-year-old Colombia striker who registered eight goals and seven assists in 30 appearances last season for the Texas side. Ferreira is currently nursing a sore right Achilles’ and, should he be unfit for the season opener, there’s already talks that suggest Shea may get moved to forward alongside Blas Perez. While the adjustment is one that certainly impacts Dallas’ attack, it’s not one that Backe expects to approach any differently on defense.
Midfielder Dax McCarty is no stranger to the ways of Dallas, having spent the first five seasons of his MLS career in the Lone Star State. Although New York faired well against Dallas during the latter stages of 2011, he believes Ferreira’s presence in the lineup, should he be healthy enough, can add a new fire to an already dangerous offense.
“We played a certain way against them on the road that really was effective for us. And another part of it was probably because Ferreira was out,” said McCarty. “He’s coming off a bad injury. I think he’s probably going to be fit and ready for the opener. He changes the dynamic a little bit and we’re really working hard in training to make sure that our team shape is good, our defending is good and when we get our chances we put them away.”
Sunday’s match marks the first one that will broadcast on Major League Soccer’s newest broadcast partner, NBC Sports. Fans can also attend one of several viewing parties in the area including the Football Factory at Legends (6 W 33rd St. between 6th and 5th avenues in New York City) kicks things off at 1pm ET, while each of our supporters groups will host their own parties. More information on our supporters groups is available here.