Let's take a closer look at a few storylines worth keeping an eye on ahead of Saturday’s 8:00 PM match against the Philadelphia Union (Watch live on NBCSN).
Tight Race in the East
Coming into Saturday’s match against Philadelphia, the top three teams in the East are separated by just one point. Following a 3-0 victory over New England, SKC regained the top spot off 39 points, while New York slid down to the number two seed with 38. To make the race for first even closer, Philly currently sits in third place with 37 points and could draw ever closer to the top spot with a result at Red Bull Arena. This match is for the season series as well, currently tied 1-1-0, so expect a hard fought battle between the two clubs.
On the Mend
The Red Bulls injury woes continued as Thierry Henry was forced to remain out of the lineup Saturday against Columbus due to Achilles soreness. The training staff remained optimistic that he would be at 100 percent for the match against Philly, and as of Tuesday's conference call with head coach Mike Petke, that would appear to be the case. Additionally, Tim Cahill is continuing his rehab and may also be on track to return as soon as Saturday against Philadelphia. Petke confirmed that Cahill put in a full training session Tuesday afternoon and remains likely for Saturday's match. Lloyd Sam, named MLS Player of the Week following his performance against SKC, put in a half-day session Tuesday after he was also unable to play against Columbus due to a knee knock. As for defender Kosuke Kimura, he will miss a second consecutive week after suffering a concussion and perforated ear drum in the match against SKC.
The Red Bulls' Response
Looking back on this season's schedule, one interesting stat to note is that every time the Red Bulls were on the losing end of a shutout, they've responded with a win in the following match. Case in point: Mar. 23, a 1-0 loss to Montreal, followed by a 2-1 win over the Union on Mar. 30. A 1-0 loss to Sporting KC on Apr. 17 was turned around with a 4-1 win over New England on Apr. 20. Following a 3-0 loss to the Union on June 23, New York responded with a 2-0 shutout victory over Houston on June 30. After losing to the Rapids 2-0 on the Fourth of July, the Red Bulls posted a 4-0 win over the Impact on July 13. And after losing to the Crew 2-0 on Aug. 10, the Red Bulls...well, you'll have to see for yourself this weekend at Red Bull Arena.
If you've seen the fireworks display before, then you know what you're in for. And if you haven't? Well, you don't want to miss out on this. Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.