Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, July 10 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)
Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Portland 4/1
The Red Bulls recovered from a terrible start to climb to the top end of the Eastern Conference. But they have not won in three weeks and lost to arch rivals NYCFC for the first time last Sunday.
That result will have left Jesse Marsch frustrated, as his side didn’t really look like scoring, and so an immediate response will be expected here.Embed from Getty Images
A return to Red Bull Arena following three consecutive road games will give the side a boost but they must start picking up more wins if they are to challenge New York City for the Eastern Conference title come the end of the season.
Portland enter the weekend outside the playoff spots in the West. They are seventh and have not looked like the side that went on to win the MLS Cup last term.
Caleb Porter knows his side are capable of better and they now have 16 games to ensure they finish in the top six.Embed from Getty Images
The Timbers need to win more regularly. They might be unbeaten in six games coming into this one, but they have not won back-to-back games all year – a record they will need to change quickly.
This will be just the seventh meeting between the two sides. The Red Bulls have won three of the previous six clashes, with the Timbers’ only victory coming at Red Bull Arena in 2014.
The Red Bulls will be without Damien Perrinelle, Kemar Lawrence and Tyler Adam, who are all injured. There are also two defensive blows for Jesse Marsch to deal with, as Aurelien Collin and Chris Duvall are both suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation. Lloyd Sam has left the club in a trade to DC United and is therefore no longer a part of the team.
Portland are definitely without Adam Kwarasey yet again, while Liam Ridgewell and Diego Valeri both look likely to miss out with injuries too. Diego Chara is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step.
New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/L/D/L
Portland Timbers’ last five: D/W/D/W/D
Key Stat: Form – The Red Bulls have won each of their last five home matches in MLS, keeping a clean sheet in each of their past four.
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls need their star striker to start firing the club to success over the remainder of the season. He has only netted one in his last four, but he tends to find the net more often at home. Him and Fanendo Adi are tied on nine goals so a key striker battle will unfold on Sunday evening.
New York Red Bulls 1-1 Portland Timbers – The Timbers have not been good enough. There are no two ways about that. The reigning MLS Cup Champions have failed to build any sort of form this season and the absence of Diego Valeri will do little to help their chances. They are unbeaten in six but have yet to win away from home in 2016. The Red Bulls, however, have hit a poor run of form and so a tight affair is expected on Sunday evening. Score draw.