The New York Red Bulls will look to extend their current win streak to four straight when they take on FC Dallas Sunday at Red Bull Arena.
The 5:00 PM kick off on MSG is the first and only regular season meeting between the sides. All-time, the overall outcome between the two is nearly split even, as the Red Bulls maintain a slight advantage off an 18-17-4 record. In the only meeting in 2012, Dallas held their own on home turf to secure a 2-1 victory at FC Dallas Stadium. However, on the other hand, Dallas has never won at Red Bull Arena, and has yet to win on the road at New York since May 24, 2006.
Currently sitting three points out of the playoff bubble in the Western Conference, Dallas heads into the tilt fresh off a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. Entering the time of year when every point begins to weigh a bit heavier, the Red Bulls are well aware that this weekend’s opponent is playing for their postseason lives.
“We’re both playing for positions in the playoffs,” Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty said earlier this week in a Q&A with NewYorkRedBulls.com. “I think Dallas is probably a little desperate at this point to get in that Top 5, so it’ll be a great game.”
Only four matches remain on the Red Bulls’ regular season schedule after Sunday, split evenly between home and away. New York travels to Seattle next weekend for a late Sunday kick off against the Sounders, before returning home on Oct. 5 to host New England. From there the Red Bulls will have a break until Oct. 20, when they travel back to Texas for a clash against the Dynamo before closing out at home on Oct. 27 vs. the Chicago Fire.
Regardless, Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry believes now is the time for the club to prove it can take on any opponent, whether here or there.
“They’re not an easy team to play against," Henry said. "They keep the ball well. We are at home, so it’s a different style of play than when we are on the road, but we have to make sure that we can have a good game no matter if we’re playing against Dallas or any other team. We have a lot of respect for them, they are a good team, but we have to be good at home.”
Defense is the name of the game for head coach Mike Petke, as he knows there is no shortage of threats on the FC Dallas offense. He hinted Friday afternoon that emphasis will be placed on limiting chances and trying to capitalize on the transition.
“I think it’s a team that can put the ball in the back of the net,” Petke said. “They’re good on set pieces and we need to be very stingy with our defensive play.”
New York may see some help on that transition with the return of midfielder Tim Cahill. Although nothing is written in stone just yet, both Petke and Cahill hinted that a return Sunday against Dallas is possible. As to what capacity – be it in the 18, as a starter, or off the bench late in the match – that remains unclear.
Nevertheless, Cahill’s rehab is progressing nicely and the high-flying Aussie admits he’s feeling much better since suffering a torn ankle ligament three weeks ago against D.C. United.
“I’m feeling pretty good, you know? It’s definitely one of those – it’s still the unknown,” Cahill said. “I’ve never had an ankle injury before. It’s just awkward. I’m enjoying being back on the pitch and training with the lads again and hopefully, if I can, play somewhat part of the game.”
All fans in attendance at Sunday’s match will receive a free T-shirt, courtesy of our friends at Prudential.
Fans are also encouraged to stick around after the match, as the Fifth Annual Battle on the Pitch kicks off following the Red Bulls’ match against FC Dallas.
For tickets, visit Red Bulls Ticket Central, or call 877.RB.SOCCER.