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Red Bulls open preseason against Atlante tonight in Cancun

The Red Bulls will play their first competitive match of the 2011 Preseason when New York takes on Atlante FC tonight at 9:00 PM ET at Andrés Quintana Roo Stadium in Cancun, Mexico.

Atlante, who has captured three Mexican First Division titles, has compiled a 2-3-0 record so far in the 2011 Clausura. In their last match, Atlante dropped a 2-0 decision away to Chivas Guadalajara, but is 2-0-0 at home, scoring five goals and allowing none.

Last preseason, the Red Bulls went unbeaten at 7-0-3, including wins over Santos of Brazil and Lech Poznan of Poland.

The match will not be televised, but fans can follow along for in-match updates on our official twitter page ( so follow us and see how the team fares in its first action of 2011.  Check back Thursday morning for reaction from head coach Hans Backe and some key players, as well as some highlights (a full highlight package will be posted later in the week).

We had a chance to speak with coach Backe yesterday to get his thoughts on the match:

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According to head coach Hans Backe, considering the fact that the players are still rounding into game fitness, he will play two completely different squads in the first and second half. While a win would be positive, Backe is keen on seeing how his team plays defensively, as many of the practice sessions so far have emphasized keeping shape when the other side is in possession.

Backe said that he has not seen Atlante play in two and a half years (Backe was an assistant for the Mexican National Team under Sven Goran Eriksson in 2008-09) but anticipates that his team will need to adapt to the Mexican side’s technical style of play. The heat could also play a factor, which makes it even more vital for the Red Bulls to keep possession throughout the match. Backe, who will likely field a more experienced side in the first half and a younger squad in the second, said that he hopes his players will begin developing a good foundation for the rest of the year.