Let's take a closer look at few storylines ahead of Saturday's 7:00 PM match between the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United (watch live on MSG2):
Can the Red Bulls Beat Bill Hamid?
The Red Bulls unleashed 24 shots in the previous Mar. 16 meeting, seven of which were placed on frame. Hamid, who without question put in a monster game for D.C., stopped all seven en route to a hard-earned MLS Player of the Week title. He’s currently second overall in MLS ‘keepers for total saves (21), and has two clean sheets on his resume this season. The question this time around is – can the Red Bulls create the same chances and find the back of the net against Hamid?
Will the Red Bulls get that elusive, but crucial, win on the road?
It will have to come sometime this season, so why not against the team’s biggest rival on the pitch at RFK Stadium this weekend? Up to this point, New York is 0-3-1 on the road in 2013. Last season at RFK alone, the Red Bulls finished off with a 0-1-1 record, and hold an all-time franchise record of 9-18-4 on the road against D.C. The opportunity is ripe for New York to turn things in the right direction with a ‘W’ at D.C., not only for the ever-growing longevity of this rivalry, but also in an effort to push things up the ladder this season.
Can the Red Bulls shutdown the D.C. attack again?
For all the good qualities of New York’s offense in the Mar. 16 match against D.C., the same quality existed along the Red Bulls’ back line. The possession game provided opportunities on the other end of the pitch and obviously kept the ball out of New York’s own attacking third, so much so that D.C. was limited to only five total shots. It was a light workload for Luis Robles, who was forced to make only two saves, one on Dwayne De Rosario and another on Chris Pontius. Can the Red Bulls put in a similar performance?
As of right now, D.C. as a whole has only two Goals For, which places them ninth overall in the category in the Eastern Conference (and ties them for 18th overall in MLS). The Red Bulls, on the other hand, are tied with the Chicago Fire for last place in Goals Allowed (10). If this match meets somewhere in the middle then we’re bound to see some high-flying action at RFK this weekend.
Will an injured Thierry Henry make his return to the Starting XI?
A left knee MCL sprain has limited Thierry Henry’s minutes in the early stages of the season. The club indicated last month that it was taking a slow-and-steady approach to Henry’s recovery, so as not to rush him back or risk reinjuring the team’s captain in the process. Henry has featured in five of New York’s six matches, started in three and scored one goal when he came off the bench as a sub against the Philadelphia Union. He did the same against the Fire this past weekend, and came within one post shot of paying dividends for the second consecutive week. One way or the other it’s safe to assume Henry’s presence on the pitch will make a positive impact for the Red Bulls. The only question is, will he do it as a starter, or a spark off the bench?