The final match of New York’s three-game home stand closes out this Saturday at Red Bull Arena when the Red Bulls take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 7:00 PM.
By now you already know about the club’s seven game unbeaten streak, including a third round U.S. Open Cup win thrown in there for good measure, but New York’s ever-improving home record is just as impressive.
Since losing to Sporting KC 1-0 on Apr. 17, the Red Bulls have gone 3-0-1 at home, 4-1-2 on the season, and improved to 7-4-4 overall, good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference. With Montreal only two points behind, and with two games in hand, the Red Bulls are well aware of the fact that now is not the time to take any spot in the standings for granted. Which is why Saturday’s match is yet another prime opportunity for New York to snag three points at home.
“We have three weeks off right after it, so obviously this is a very important game,” said head coach Mike Petke. “It is very important to end on a high note pretty much the first half of our season when other teams will be playing in the next three weeks and we can’t respond to it. This is three points for us, we need these three points, that way we can go in on a high note, get some rest that we need, and come out on a high note.”
Vancouver isn’t exactly a team that New York faces all that often. In fact, since Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s 2011 inaugural season, neither side has walked away a winner in either of the two matches. In both instances, starting at Red Bull Arena in 2011 and switching to BC Place in 2012, the final outcome was a 1-1 draw. We addressed that subject briefly in this week’s What to Watch For, and wonder if this is the year when one side, preferably the home team, walks away with a ‘W.’
Nevertheless, Petke and company are not going into this one blindly. As usual it comes down to preparation, studying video and sticking to the team’s own game plan.
“They’re a dangerous team,” said Petke. “They’re a very good counter-attacking team, they clog up the middle, don’t give you much room to play; when they win it they are very aggressive going forward. We have to control the ball, we have to possess it better and not give them those opportunities.”
The Red Bulls will look to take three points against Vancouver Saturday when they kick off at 7 PM. Get tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central or call 877.RB.SOCCER.