Let's take a look at a few headlines to watch out for when the Red Bulls head off to Houston this Sunday for a 5:00 PM kick off against the Dynamo (Watch all the action live on MSG).
Battling Through Injuries
Nevermind the home-away-home-away schedule that seems to be the rhythm of the season. How about these injuries? Every time the team looks like it’s getting some guys back, more go off. And yet despite all that, the club is still hovering very close to sole possession of first place. Makes one wonder where they could possibly be without the dings and dents of the season. But hey, that’s how it goes. Regardless, the Red Bulls head into Houston without the likes of Roy Miller (Achilles), Tim Cahill (ankle), Connor Lade (knee) and may or may not have Brandon Barklage, who remains day to day with a hip strain.
Assembling the Back Line
With Miller out, Ibrahim Sekagya suspended (red card vs. D.C.) and Barklage day to day, it’s hard to say what the back line will look like going up against the Dynamo. Kosuke Kimura might be an option, as he has played some minutes since returning from the concussion sustained on Aug. 3, but he’s yet to start since July 20 vs. Toronto FC. If healthy enough to go a full 90 minutes, Jamison Olave will likely pair with Markus Holgersson in the middle. As for the left and right backs, those may be a bit up in the air.
Tough Road in Houston
New York is a 6-0-3 all-time against the Houston Dynamo when playing at home. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of road trips to Texas, where the Red Bulls are 0-3-4 since Houston’s 2006 inaugural season. Last year the Red Bulls took the regular season series 2-1-0, and have already kicked the year off on the right foot with a 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena on June 30. Is this the year New York cracks that goose egg on the road at Houston?
Houston Battling for Playoff Contention
It seems like every week we have to have at least some mention of the standings, so why should this week be any different? The Dynamo heads into Sunday’s match fresh off a Wednesday night, 2-0 loss to Columbus. While this doesn’t impact the Red Bulls’ place in the standings at all, it does hit Houston fairly hard when you consider the club is currently tied with the New England Revolution’s 37-point total, but sits just outside the playoff bubble in sixth place. Despite the tie, if the playoffs started today Houston would not be postseason bound. That can’t sit well with the team, and you can bet they’re going to come out flying at home for Sunday’s match against the Red Bulls.