Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 4/7 – Draw 14/5 – Real Salt Lake 5/1
New York Red Bulls welcome Real Salt Lake to Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night in what is a huge midweek fixture for two sides trying to fight their way into the playoff spots as we enter the midpoint of the season.
The Red Bulls have been simply terrible in recent weeks. Bradley Wright-Phillips missed two penalties in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps to typify the recent bad luck the club has had to endure.
Jesse Marsch has watched his side lose four in a row now and Saturday’s defeat saw them fall out of the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference and into seventh.Embed from Getty Images
With just one win in their last nine, the Red Bulls are in freefall and need to try and rally together to pick up all three points against RSL on Wednesday.
That won’t be an easy task though as Jeff Cassar’s side ended a three-game winless run with a dramatic late 2-1 win over an in-form Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night.
That result will give the team confidence, despite the fact they have lost their last three road games in MLS, and it’s difficult to see why the Red Bulls are the outright favourites for this as a result.Embed from Getty Images
This will be the only regular season meeting between the two sides this year. Last season’s clash ended 1-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium, while the last game at Red Bull Arena was one to remember as the Red Bulls won 4-3 in a match that saw three penalties dispatched.
Jesse Marsch will likely be without Lloyd Sam for the second straight game on Wednesday after the Englishman missed out at the weekend. Sal Zizzo returned on Saturday and should be available to start here, but Sacha Kljestan will miss out after being sent off at the weekend.
RSL have four injury concerns ahead of this one. Chris Schuler is definitely out with a long-term injury, while Jamison Olave, Justen Glad and Alvaro Saborio are all doubts.
New York Red Bulls’ last five in MLS: D/L/L/L/L
Real Salt Lake’s last five in MLS: W/L/L/D/W
Key Stat: New York Red Bulls have not lost five straight regular season games since the 2009 season.
Key Player: Javier Morales – The RSL playmaker picked up both assists on Sunday and looked to be in inspired form. Expect him to be at the centre of all Real Salt Lake’s attacking play again on Wednesday.
New York Red Bulls 2-2 Real Salt Lake – Tough to separate these two. Difficult to see the Red Bulls losing a fifth straight game, especially as this is at home, but then they don’t look strong enough to win either. Expect RSL to take the lead but the hosts to rally back for a point in what should be an entertaining one.