Gallery: Exclusive images from Toronto’s surprise win at New York Red Bulls

The 2016 MLS season got off to a flyer on Sunday, with a league-record 36 goals going in on the opening day’s action. The season started in New York, where reigning Supporters’ Shield winners New York Red Bulls took on Toronto FC.

Before the match, the Red Bulls enjoyed their latest Supporters’ Shield banner ceremony before kickoff but were ultimately left disappointed with the outcome of their 2016 opener.

The Red Bulls dominated most of the game but couldn’t find the crucial goal to put them in front. They were punished for that late on as two Toronto strikes in the final ten minutes earned the Canadians an important 2-0 win.

Giovinco slotted away a penalty in the 81st minute after Kemar Lawrence brought down rookie forward Tsubasa Endoh, before Marky Delgado sealed the win with a cool finish in stoppage time.

Check out the exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

New York Red Bulls Tifo Supporters MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC - Supporters' Shield banner MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC Tsubasa Endoh Toronto FC Dax McCarty New York Red Bulls Sebastian Giovinco Gideon Baah Sebastian Giovinco Penalty Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls Toronto Celebrate Red Bull Arena

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MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference Final Second Leg) – New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, November 29 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT – Monday, November 30)

Match Odds:  New York Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 3/1 – Columbus Crew 15/4

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew clash at the Red Bull Arena for the crucial second leg of their MLS Cup playoff Eastern Conference final tie.

The Crew made the most of their home advantage in the first leg, securing a 2-0 win thanks to Justin Meram who scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup playoff history after just nine seconds of the game, before top goalscorer Kei Kamara added a vital second late on.

The New York Red Bulls will be disappointed with their performance in the first leg and know full well they’ve left themselves a monumental task to try and reach the MLS Cup final.

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Jesse Marsch has to rally his men and draw upon their good form coming into the postseason – the defeat to Columbus ended a run of four straight victories and was only their second loss in eight games.

New York have been almost impeccable on home soil in the last few months, winning ten of their last 11 games at Red Bull Arena – in order to go through, they need to win either 2-0 or by a three goal margin should Columbus score, given the away goals rule.

Columbus Crew will be ecstatic after a quite simply magnificent performance in the first leg and they’ve given themselves an excellent chance of going all the way.

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They came into this contest as underdogs, so it will be interesting to see how they cope with the pressure of knowing they’re now in a great position and are most definitely favourites to reach the final.

Gregg Berhalter’s side have only lost by two goals or more on one occasion in their last 14 games, so they will be confident of finishing the job on Sunday night.

The Red Bulls can’t really afford to let Columbus score if they are to have a realistic chance of progressing, as one goal for the Crew would leave them needing to score four in reply.

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With an MLS Cup final spot at stake, one thing we can guarantee is that it promises to be another night of entertainment, excitement and drama – it’s certainly not one to miss.

Team News

New York Red Bulls will be without defensive duo Chris Duvall (broken leg) and Damien Perrinelle (knee). Ronald Zubar will partner Matt Miazga at the centre of the defence and they will need to be fully focused and organised to ensure they avoid any silly mistakes. Miazga, Zubar, Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan are all one yellow card away from missing the final should they qualify.

Columbus Crew will continue to be without midfielder Kristinn Steindorsson who is recovering from a knee injury. Harrison Afful and Tyson Wahl will be keen to avoid cautions, as one more would see them miss the final if they were to make it.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/W/W/L

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: No side has ever overcome a two goal deficit from a conference final first leg to reach the MLS Cup final.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The English striker was isolated for large periods of the first leg in Columbus and the Red Bulls need to bring him into the game more frequently this time around to stand a chance of recovering the tie.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew – The New York Red Bulls have left themselves with a mountain to climb but they’ll certainly give their all to turn it round. They will run Columbus close but having to come out and attack may leave the door open for the Crew to expose their defensive frailties. A narrow Red Bulls win could be on the cards, but it may not be enough to see them make the final.

GALLERY: Exclusive images from New York Red Bulls’ win over DC United

The New York Red Bulls sealed their place in the Eastern Conference Final with a cagey 1-0 win over DC United at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night to win the tie 2-0 on aggregate.

DC failed to offer much in terms of attacks, despite the fact they travelled to the Red Bulls knowing they needed to score at least once to stand a chance of progressing.

The Red Bulls were on course to advance to the Eastern Conference Final with the scores at 0-0 for most of the game, until Bradley Wright-Phillips popped up with a stoppage time goal to put things beyond any doubt for Jesse Marsch’s side.

The Supporters’ Shield winners will now face Columbus Crew over two legs in the Eastern final to decide who advances to the 2015 MLS Cup Final.

Check out some exclusive photos from the game at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night below, courtesy of Ashley Marshall.

Players line up before the start of the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Players line up before the start of the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Fans in the South Ward remember Mike Vallo during the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Fans in the South Ward remember Mike Vallo during the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Bill Hamid collects a cross during the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Bill Hamid collects a cross during the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

New York's Mike Gella jumps with Perry Kitchen during the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

New York’s Mike Gella jumps with Perry Kitchen during the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

New York's Matt Miazga wins a header in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

New York’s Matt Miazga wins a header in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Bradley Wright-Phillips rounds goalkeeper Bill Hamid to score the only goal of the game in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Bradley Wright-Phillips rounds goalkeeper Bill Hamid to score the only goal of the game in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

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Fans celebrate after Bradley Wright-Phillips' goal in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Fans celebrate after Bradley Wright-Phillips’ goal in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs DC United

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg) – New York Red Bulls vs. DC United

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, November 8 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – DC United 6/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome DC United to Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon for the second leg of their MLS Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Red Bulls returned home from DC last weekend with an excellent 1-0 win that puts them firmly in the driving seat in this tie, knowing they’ve scored a crucial away goal.

Dax McCarty’s headed finish following Sacha Kljestan’s floated free-kick in the 72nd minute gave New York the advantage, and Jesse Marsch will be confident his side can see out the job on home soil.

DC United vs New York Red Bulls Dax McCarty

The victory against DC was the perfect way for the Red Bulls to follow on from sealing the Supporters’ Shield title, showing they mean business and that they haven’t lost their focus – it also marked their third consecutive win.

DC United looked tired and slightly bereft of ideas as they struggled to break down a strong Red Bulls team – not even their usually reliable home form could help them salvage anything from the first leg.

Ben Olsen may be tempted to send his players out with orders to attack straight from the off in the hope of creating a realistic chance to progress, although that’s a tactic that could play into the hands of a New York side so dangerous on the counter-attack.

DC United vs New York Red Bulls Sacha Kljestan Perry Kitchen

DC have lost seven of their last ten games, so it may pay for them to try and keep things tight and hope they can pinch a goal. It’s a tough task but if they have any aspirations of winning the MLS Cup, then now is the time to really stand up and be counted.

New York Red Bulls haven’t lost any of the four meetings with DC in 2015 (W3, D1) and the last time they lost at home to DC was in December 2012.

Team News

New York Red Bulls will be without regular centre-back, Damien Perrinelle, for the rest of the season after he suffered a knee injury in the first leg. Ronald Zubar will be expected to deputise in his absence. Defender Chris Duvall (leg) and striker Anatole Abang (hamstring) both remain out.

DC United have doubts over the fitness of midfielders Chris Pontius (hamstring) and Michael Farfan (undisclosed), as well as defender Sean Franklin (achilles). All three could miss this crucial second leg, while Chris Korb (knee), Davy Arnaud (concussion) and Jared Jeffrey (face) remain out.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/L/W/W/W

DC United’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls have scored at least one goal in each of their last 24 games.

Key Player: Mike Grella – He has perhaps been somewhat an unsung hero in 2015. With great performances from the likes of BWP, Lloyd Sam and Sacha Kljestan taking the limelight, it’s also worth noting how crucial Grella has been. He’s scored nine goals and made seven assists this season, making him a vital cog in the Red Bulls machine.

DC United vs New York Red Bulls Mike Grella

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 DC United – You can’t help feeling that New York Red Bulls have one foot in the conference final, although there is still hard work to be done. DC United certainly face an uphill struggle, but they will throw everything they have at this game as there’s nothing to lose. Ultimately though, the Red Bulls should see it through.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, October 3 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Sunday, October 4) 

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 17/20 – Draw 14/5 – Columbus Crew 11/4

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls take on Columbus Crew at Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening in a crucial Eastern Conference clash as the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield title looks set to go to the wire.

The Red Bulls are currently top of the Eastern Conference and just two points behind leaders LA Galaxy in the Supporters’ Shield standings, although they have two games in hand on their Western Conference rivals.

Jesse Marsch’s side have already secured a playoff spot but they will be keen to continue winning games in a bid to clinch a second Supporters’ Shield title in three years.

New York Red Bulls’ MLS record: P29 – W14 – D6 – L9

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New York come into this contest off the back of their heaviest defeat since September 2014 after being beaten 5-2 at home to Orlando City last weekend, making it two losses from their last three.

Columbus arrive in New York knowing that they only need to avoid defeat in order to secure a playoff spot for the second consecutive season.

Gregg Berhalter’s side are also still in with an outside chance of winning the Supporters’ Shield, although they will almost certainly have to win their remaining three games for that to be a realistic possibility.

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The Crew slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Portland Timbers last time out but it was only their second defeat in eight games (W5, D1) – they’ve also won their last four games on the road.

Columbus Crew’s MLS record: P31 – W13 – D8 – L10

This is the third meeting between these two sides this season, with Columbus Crew coming out on top as 2-1 winners in July and New York Red Bulls winning an early season clash 2-1 back in March.

Team News

New York Red Bulls will be without defenders Chris Duvall (leg) and Roy Miller (knee). Matt Miazga also misses out as he serves a suspension.

Columbus Crew defenders Chad Barson (ankle) and Gaston Sauro (concussion) are both out injured, as is Jack McInerney (hamstring).

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/L/W/L

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: Columbus have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 games.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The leading goalscorer in MLS this season has been a joy to watch and he’ll need to continue his fine form if the Crew have any hopes of securing a positive result.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-2 Columbus Crew – This promises to be an entertaining encounter between two sides that like to play in exciting style with pace and movement. It should provide plenty of goals and a high-scoring draw could be the order of the day.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC 

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, August 9 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – New York City FC 4/1

Match Preview

The third and final New York derby of the season takes place on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena. New York City FC visit the New York Red Bulls in hope of ending the Red Bulls’ early dominance in this rivalry.

With two wins from two in the derby, the Red Bulls are comfortably in possession of the bragging rights after a 2-1 home win was followed up by a 3-1 comeback at Yankee Stadium in June.

And being eight points behind DC United in the Eastern Conference, they will want to take a third win as they hunt down the Eastern Conference title with just two months to go in the regular season.

New York Red Bulls’ record in MLS: P21 – W9 – D6 – L6

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New York City FC are searching for the three points for another reason, as they chase a playoff berth in their inaugural season.

This is a huge match for the newly formed franchise as losing all three derbies this season would be devastating, but with stars such as Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard in the team now, NYCFC have assets that can win games. And lest we forget arguably the most lethal out-and-out striker in MLS right now, David Villa.

New York City FC’s record in MLS: P22 – W6 – D6 – L10

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It is sure to be another fiery encounter and it could well be the best game in MLS this weekend between two rivals desperate for the win.

 

Team News

New York Red Bulls will be without Chris Duvall and Ronald Zubar through injury. Damien Perrinelle is suspended.

New York City FC are missing George John, Tony Taylor and Connor Brandt through injury. Chris Wingert, Khiry Shelton and Ryan Meara are all doubts. Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa should all start together.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: L/W/W/W/D

New York City FC’s last five: W/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: David Villa has a sensational ten goals in his last eight MLS appearances. 

Key Player: David Villa – World Cup winner Villa has hit form at the right time and he can’t stop scoring at the moment. Expect him to be a real threat on Sunday night.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 1-2 New York City FC – NYCFC could edge this one against their local rivals, especially when considering the form of David Villa in front of goal. If NYCFC do win it, it will be close but this should be a great one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, May 10th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Monday, May 11th)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – New York City FC 4/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls and New York City FC clash at the Red Bull Arena on Sunday night for the first ever New York derby in MLS history.

The Red Bulls come into the game against their newly formed rivals as strong favourites despite suffering their first defeat of the season away at New England Revolution last time out.

Jesse Marsch‘s side have won three and drawn four of their opening eight matches as well as still remaining undefeated at home and they currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand on the teams above them.

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New York Red Bulls have been a joy to watch so far this season with some excellent, entertaining link-up play between the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips, Lloyd Sam and Felipe Martins. That’s not to mention how impressive both Mike Grella and Sacha Kljestan have been.

It seems unfair to name just a few as the whole squad have in-fact been outstanding, and when you consider that many were expecting the Red Bulls to struggle in 2015, it’s been a very strong start which shows they mean business.

To say that New York City FC’s start to life in MLS has been a struggle would be an understatement. They’ve managed just one win from their first nine games, drawing three and losing five.

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The numbers don’t make for pretty reading for Jason Kreis and his side and the 3-1 defeat at home to Seattle last time out was NYC’s third consecutive loss and the fifth loss in six games.

New York City are eight in the Eastern Conference coming into this game and whichever way you dress it up, they need to improve. And fast. A positive result in the first ever derby match would go a long way to silencing the early critics and laying down a platform on which to build upon.

It promises to be an exciting game and New York City will look to upset all the odds when they take to the Red Bull Arena field, but New York Red Bulls will be confident of inflicting more misery on the men in sky blue.

Team News

New York Red Bulls won’t be able to call upon Sal Zizzo for a few months as he recovers from a broken leg. There are doubts over whether defender Ronald Zubar will feature after he missed the last game with a hamstring injury.

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New York City will be without the injured George John and Tony Taylor as well as the suspended Kwame Watson-Siriboe. Javier Calle, Jason Hernandez and Adam Nemec are all doubts.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: D/W/D/D/L

New York City FC’s last five: L/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: Only Montreal Impact have scored fewer goals (5) than New York City (6) in MLS this season and the Impact have played four games less than NYC.

Key Player: Felipe Martins – The Brazilian has been excellent since joining from Montreal Impact and could provide the Red Bulls with the moment of magic that unlocks the NYC defence.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-0 New York City FC – New York Red Bulls haven’t lost just one game this season by fluke, but more because they’ve been impressive. New York City are really struggling and it’s hard to see how they can get anything from this one. With that said, it is a local derby which would suggest that form is irrelevant, although the Red Bulls should still brush them aside.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Red Bull Arena, Friday, April 17th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York 7/10 – Draw 13/5 – San Jose 18/5

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena in this week’s Friday night game and both clubs will come into this one in a confident mood.

The Red Bulls earned a valuable draw at DC United last weekend as a late Lloyd Sam goal sealed a 2-2 draw to keep Jesse Marsch’s side as one of just two unbeaten clubs in MLS after six weeks.

New York have only played four times so far, winning two and drawing two, but have won their own home game and their supporters will be eager to see them in action on home turf once again on Friday night.

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The Earthquakes put an end to their two-game losing streak by beating the top side in MLS, Vancouver Whitecaps, last Saturday.

San Jose have now picked up nine points from their opening six games and travel to New Jersey looking to climb into second place in the Supporters’ Shield standings.

The Quakes have not lost to the Red Bulls in four years and will take confidence from that record going into this one.

Last year’s only meeting ended in a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena, and three of the last four have now ended in draws between these two.

There are usually goals when these two meet and that should be no different on Friday night in what should be an entertaining game.

Team News

New York Red Bulls have three injury worries to defenders heading into the game as Roy Miller (knee), Ronald Zubar (hamstring) and Damien Perrinelle (foot) are all doubts, but should be fit to play. Bradley Wright-Phillips will continue to lead the attack with Lloyd Sam and Mike Grella likely to keep their places on the wings.

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San Jose Earthquakes look set to be without four players as Mark Sherrod (knee), Steven Lenhart (knee), Jordan Stewart (calf) and Shaun Francis (head) are all unlikely to feature. Adam Jahn will serve his one-game suspension for the red card picked up in Saturday’s win against Vancouver and will miss out. Chris Wondolowski travelled with the USA squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico but didn’t feature as he had a calf strain so he is a doubt for Friday’s game.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ form: D/W/W/D

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: W/W/L/L/W

Key Stat: There have been 20 goals in the last six matches between these two sides and so entertainment is expected at Red Bull Arena.

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Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The English forward has two goals so far this season but always plays best at home and a return to Red Bull Arena could see him put in a big performance.

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – The Red Bulls have looked strong so far this season and are always a real threat at home. That should see them beat San Jose on Friday night but expect both teams to score in what should be a good one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. DC United

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, March 22 – 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports 5)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – DC United 3/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host DC United in their first home game of the new MLS season on Sunday evening. This has the potential to be a cracker as the Eastern Conference sides renew one of the oldest MLS rivalries as they go head-to-head for the Atlantic Cup once again.

With both sides hopeful of a playoff berth again this season, New York and DC will both see this as a must win game – even if only for the bragging rights at this early stage of the campaign.

The Red Bulls have had a turbulent offseason after losing the great Thierry Henry as well as Tim Cahill and head coach Mike Petke, but have managed to shore up their defence with the addition Ronald Zubar and have also strengthened in midfield with Sacha Kljestan coming in.

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Both sides were on bye weeks last weekend so will come into the game fresh and both will be looking for all three points.

The Red Bulls earned a hard fought point away to Sporting Kansas City in their opening game and will need to be at their best once again if they are to get a result from this one.

Ben Olsen’s DC United are one of the favourites to retain their Eastern Conference title this season as they look like a dangerous side despite playing without two of their best players in Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson.

The 1-0 win against the Montreal Impact looks like a great result as Montreal are significantly better than last season so far and have reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

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However, we are expecting the Red Bulls to challenge USMNT goalkeeper Bill Hamid on Sunday night in what should be a close encounter.

With the joint-best defence in 2014, DC United will provide a real test for Bradley Wright-Phillips and his Red Bulls teammates this weekend in what has the potential to be the game of the weekend. For any UK fans reading, it’s live on Sky Sports 5 and isn’t one you want to miss.

Team News

New York Red Bulls: Peguy Luyindula could come in for Mike Grella on the left wing. Roy Miller is a doubt but is expected to feature at left-back. Ronald Zubar has a hamstring problem but he is also expected to make the starting lineup.

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DC United: Eddie Johnson, Luis Silva and Markus Halsti are all out. Michael Seaton is a doubt and Fabian Espindola is still serving a ban that won’t see him return until Week 7. Taylor Kemp could start at left-back but is a doubt with a groin injury.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ form: D

DC United’s form: W

Key Stat: Bradley Wright-Phillips failed to register a single shot and only had one touch in the box when the Red Bulls played Sporting Kansas City on the opening weekend.

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Key Player: Jairo Arrieta – New DC United striker, Jairo Arrieta arrived via a trade with Orlando and scored in his first game against Montreal last time out. With Espindola and Johnson both out, Arrieta will be the main threat in front of goal.

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 1-2 DC United – This one could go either way, but DC United may edge this after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Red Bulls last term. Will revenge be served at Red Bull Arena on Sunday?

Stats: Thierry Henry vs Lee Nguyen – Which playmaker will make the difference on Sunday?

New York Red Bulls host New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Final first-leg on Sunday night, and two of Major League Soccer‘s best playmakers are set to go head-to-head in Thierry Henry and Lee Nguyen.

Henry has been a world-class talent for much of his career and he would be an integral part of any side, even at 37. The French genius is vital for the Red Bulls and his form in the MLS Playoffs so far this season has been a joy to watch.

He is arguably in the best run of form we’ve seen of him in a New York shirt and if he plays as he has done the past few weeks, the Red Bulls may have enough to win the first-leg.

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On the other side New England Revolution have a midfield maestro of their own in Lee Nguyen. The 28-year-old has had the best season of his career and leads the Revs in goals with 20, including the two in the playoffs so far.

Don’t miss: Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution

Nguyen’s form was rewarded with a call-up to the USMNT last week and we can expect to see him back with Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad in January.

Without Nguyen, it’s difficult to see how New England would have made it into the playoffs. Jermaine Jones’ arrival sparked the team into life but its the playmaker who has been the start this year.

The battle between Henry and Nguyen should go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game, as if either player can pull the strings on Sunday, they should guide their team to victory.

Thierry Henry vs Lee Nguyen in 2014 - including playoffs. Stats via Squawka.

Thierry Henry vs Lee Nguyen in 2014 – including playoffs. Stats via Squawka.

Nguyen has scored an impressive 20 goals so far and is more of a goal threat than Henry because of his more central position.

Henry tends to play out on the left now for the Red Bulls so his goal return of 10 so far is still impressive, and the Frenchman has made 10 more goals for teammates than the Revs man has managed. With Bradley Wright-Phillips the one who has benefitted most from Henry’s presence this year.

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The pair are both so influential for their sides and that is shown by their individual influence to the total team goals this season. Henry has contributed to 24 of New York’s 60 goals in 2014 (40%). Whereas Nguyen has contributed to the same number of goals (24) of New England’s 58 this year (41%).

The two have enjoyed very similar campaigns in terms of goal contribution and will need to be at their best once more to help their side’s try and get the advantage in the first-leg showdown at Red Bull arena.

Who will make the difference on Sunday – Henry or Nguyen?