The New York Red bulls travel to Toronto FC on Saturday night, in the first meeting between the two this season, and will be hoping to take advantage of Toronto’s losses.
Michael Bradley has left the squad to join up with the USMNT World Cup squad in Stanford, while Jermain Defoe is listed as doubtful with a minor hamstring injury.
This will be of great advantage to New York who still have key players available, and the form of strike duo Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips will be key once again in this encounter.
The Red Bulls will be looking to sure up their defence who conceded 5 last time out against the Chicago Fire. But with Toronto losing their last three games in MLS, and with many players missing, it’s difficult to see the Red Bulls failing to win this game.
With the World Cup providing a distraction, the Red Bulls must take advantage while they can. They are however missing midfield general Tim Cahill, who has flown to Australia for World Cup preparations.
As for Toronto, a host of players are doubtful including Jonathan Osorio and Doneil Henry.
The loss of Henry would be huge, as he would leave a hole in the defence that could be exploited by the Red Bull’s strike force.
(Photo: Doneil Henry will be needed to cope with the attacking threat of the Red Bulls)
Another question is that of who partners Defoe up front (if he is fit). Do they go with recent recruit, and ex-Aston Villa forward Luke Moore, or do they start designated player Gilberto once more in the hope he will finally get his first goal for the Reds.
The English pairing seems most likely, seeing as both Moore and Defoe have played in the Premier League, and it will be a fascinating battle against the duo of Wright-Phillips and Henry for New York, as they have a collective 12 goals between them already this season.
Whatever happens, expects goals, with both teams having no problems creating chances but they both have a problem with defending.
Key Man: Doneil Henry: If Toronto stand any chance of shutting out the Red Bull’s, Doneil Henry has to play in this game. Toronto will be desperately hoping he will be passed fit.
Prediction: Toronto FC 1 – 3 New York Red Bulls
I expect Wright-Phillips and Henry to both score and for the Red Bull’s to be comfortable throughout, despite playing away from home, as they look to bounce back from last week’s 5-4 defeat.
Key Stat: New York have won the last 6 meetings between the two sides.