Let's take a closer look at a few storylines worth keeping an eye on ahead of Saturday’s 7:00 PM match against Real Salt Lake (Watch live on MSG, starting with the 6:30 PM pre-game show). Get tickets at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Best in the West Comes to Town
The Red Bulls are set to host Real Salt Lake Saturday at Red Bull Arena. This is the one and only meeting of the season between these two clubs and it should be a great battle, especially when you consider RSL’s place in the standings. The first-place team in the West is coming off a loss to Sporting KC, but that was the club’s first time not getting a point or more since losing to Montreal on May 11. That’s a 6-0-2 run that was cut down this past weekend, and you know for a fact that they’ll be looking to get back on the winning side of things as soon as possible. All-time, the Red Bulls have posted a 3-1-3 record at home against Real Salt Lake with 13 Goals For and 6 Against. However, the Red Bulls have not won a game against Real Salt Lake since April 18th, 2009, so New York will look to put an end to this winless streak Saturday at 7 PM.
How Will the Red Bulls Respond?
Will the Red Bulls fire out of the gate with the same tenacity that helped it dominate Montreal 4-0 at Red Bull Arena on July 13? Or will the team that struggled to generate offense and was, in the words of head coach Mike Petke, “fortunate” to get a point against Toronto struggle to get back on track? We're now two games past the midway point in the season and the playoff picture is starting to take form. It will be important for the club to get back on track and atop the Eastern Conference standings where we know it can be. Food for thought: The last two times New York was held scoreless, Apr. 17 vs. Sporting KC and June 23 vs. the Union, the club responded with wins in the following match.
Back to Back Number Ones - No. 1 in the West, Follow By No. 1 in the East.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but New York has two tough battles in the coming weeks. Following Saturday’s clash against RSL at Red Bull Arena, the Red Bulls will head to Kansas City to take on Sporting KC Saturday, August 3, at 6:30 PM. SKC currently sits at first place in the East with 36 points, so these two matchups will be a tough task for the Red Bulls.
Espindola, Olave, and Steele Face Off Against Their Former Team for the First Time
Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave and Jonny Steele are set to face their former team for the first time since their MLS journeys began. After joining the club in midway through the 2007 season, Espindola recorded 35 goals over 125 games (114 of which were starts) with RSL. Olave, who since joining the New York back line has quickly become a fan favorite with solid defense, amassed 10 goals over five seasons with RSL and claimed Defender of the Year, MLS First XI and All-Star honors in 2010. As for Red Bulls midfielder Steele, he made his MLS debut with Real Salt Lake during the 2012 season, posting 2 goals in 28 games. These three players now call New York their home, as they’ll look to get a win against their former team for the first time Saturday at Red Bull Arena.