Orlando City vs DC United | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs DC United

Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, March 3rd 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Orlando City vs DC United: Preview

The opening game of Orlando City’s 2018 MLS season is to be played at home. They welcome fellow Eastern Conference side DC United to Orlando City Stadium as both sides kick off the new season with reason for optimism.

There have been some major changes to the Orlando roster during the offseason. Kaka has retired after his contract ended, which is a huge blow for the Lions. However, they have acted quickly to bring in a quality replacement in the form of Sacha Kljestan.

Orlando are yet to make it to the playoffs since their inception into MLS three years ago. The pressure is on them to make that happen this season. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield and knows his side need to be more consistent. A home win in their season opener would go a long way to giving his new look side, and the fans, confidence.

DC United are in a similar position to Orlando for the start of the new season. They too have made improvements to their roster in the offseason. These were the bottom two sides in the East last season and will both be eager to show they are going to have a better 2018.

Making the playoffs will be the main aim for DC this campaign. They won’t want to make it two on the bounce where they fail to make the post season competition.

Ben Olsen will be expecting his side to show what they can do in this tie. However, DC have only won once in Orlando and they’re going to need to make a vast improvement on their away form from last season, where they came away with all three points on just three occasions.

Orlando City vs DC United: Team News

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: Sacha Kljestan (Red Card) – following his red card for his altercation with Jozy Altidore in the Eastern Conference semifinal, Kljestan serves the first of his two match ban.

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Uri Rosell (fitness), Dillon Powers (ankle), Josue Colman (thigh bruise) and Dom Dwyer (quad strain)

(Take a look at all Orlando City’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

DC United

❌ Suspensions: Luciano Acosta (Red Card)

❓ Doubts: Darren Mattocks (Calf)

🚑 Out: Russell Canouse (knee sprain) and Taylor Kemp (sports hernia surgery)

(Take a look at all DC United’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Orlando City vs DC United: Key Stats

Orlando City’s MLS form: N/A

DC United’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Orlando City have won their last three home games against DC United.

Orlando City vs DC United: Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 DC United: An opening weekend win for Orlando looks a likely outcome for this one. Both sides are missing key playmakers through suspension but given DC’s poor away record last season and their inability, so far, to cause Orlando major problems, this is a game may well follow suit.

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2018 Key Transfers: Orlando City

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Orlando City and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

To say it’s been a busy winter at Orlando City would be an understatement. The club have been one of the busiest in MLS since their 2017 campaign came to an end. Plenty have gone, and plenty more have come in as the Lions prepare for a new-look team this season. The outcome appears to be positive. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield. They started last season with six wins from seven but then completely dropped off, eventually finishing 10th in the East with 39 points. They need to be more consistent and will hope their new-look squad can fire them into the playoffs for the first time. This will be their fourth MLS campaign, so it’s time to start delivering.

Key Signings

Sacha Kljestan: The big question this winter was: ‘Who is going to replace Kaka for Orlando?’ The answer is Sacha Kljestan. The Lions made a big move for the Red Bulls star, sending Tommy Redding and Carlos Rivas the other way. In Kljestan, Orlando have acquired the league’s leading assist provider from both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. At 32, there are some concerns about his fitness but he has played 97 regular season games over the past three seasons in New York – an average of 32 games a season. This one makes a lot of sense.

Lamine Sane: The Lions made a major move to strengthen their defence with the signing of 30-year-old Senegalese international Sane. The centre-back joins from Werder Bremen, where he scored two goals in 40 appearances. Prior to moving to Germany, he enjoyed a seven-year stay with French side Bordeaux. He will bring vital experience to Orlando and should be a great addition to the backline, so long as he can adapt quickly.

Justin Meram: The signing of Meram has to be one of the best this offseason by any MLS side. The winger is dangerous out wide or in a more central playmaking position and knows the league inside out. All seven of his professional seasons to date have been spent in Columbus but he wanted a new challenge and got his wish as Orlando made a major move for him. They sent $1.05 million in allocation money to the Crew, as well as an international roster spot. Meram has 40 goals and 35 assists in 200 league and playoff appearances and should be a really good addition.

Josue Colman: Another exciting attacking addition for Orlando comes in the form of Paraguayan winger Colman. The 19-year-old joins as a Young DP and will hope to nail down a regular starting role under Kreis in 2018. He joins the club from Cerro Porteno in Paraguay’s top flight after helping them win the Clausura title last year. He will have the right players around him to ensure he fulfils his potential in Florida.

Oriol Rosell: Orlando have signed a great accompaniment to all their attacking moves in Uri Rosell. The former Sporting Kansas City midfielder joins from Sporting CP in Portugal. A total of $400,000 was sent to FC Dallas so that Orlando could secure the No.1 spot in the league allocation order. Rosell is a tough-tackling holding midfielder, who knows the league and at 25, should be a great addition.

Notable Departures

Kaka: Undoubtedly the biggest loss for the Lions this offseason was Kaka. The Brazilian legend retired after his three-year contract with the Lions ended. He failed to lead the Lions to the playoffs as he had hoped but he was an incredibly instrumental figure in and off the pitch, helping to shape Orlando’s identity in MLS and on the world map. He was a three-time MLS All-Star and recorded 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.

Giles Barnes: Another attacking player to move on is Barnes. The English-born Jamaican international has joined Liga MX side Club Léon after his option was declined. He scored three goals and added two assists in 34 games last season and leaves MLS after six seasons in which he represented Houston, Vancouver and Orlando.

Antonio Nocerino: The Italian midfielder had his option declined at the end of the 2017 season after failing to ever live up to his billing. He joined from AC Milan and was expected to impress but scored just one goal in 52 games and didn’t register a single assist in two seasons.

Carlos Rivas: Rivas was sent to the Red Bulls along with Tommy Redding in exchange for Kljestan. His departure released a Designated Player slot for the Lions but his dynamic play style might be missed. He played 78 games over three seasons with Orlando, scoring eight goals and picking up 13 assists. Those numbers aren’t DP level though and that’s why he’s been allowed to move on.

Cyle Larin: Larin’s departure couldn’t have gone less smooth. The Canadian striker travelled to Turkey in January to train with Besiktas, without the consent of Orlando. He was contracted to the Lions through 2019 but decided to ignore his contract and tried to force through a move to Besiktas. He eventually got his way as Orlando accepted at least $2.3 million from the Turkish giants. But bad feelings aside, Larin led the team in goals in each of his three seasons and his presence will likely be a big miss in attack.

2018 Key Transfers: New York Red Bulls

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at New York Red Bulls and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

The New York Red Bulls came close to shocking Toronto in the Eastern Conference Championship game last season but ultimately fell just short. It was a trend of their season. They were good, but saw several close games slip away from them. Jesse Marsch has responded by adding to his already talented squad this offseason. A couple of key faces have gone but the Red Bulls look younger and more dynamic heading into the new season. Their high pressing and intense style of play should ensure they continue to fight at the very top of the East.

Key Signings

Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra: Undoubtedly the signing of the offseason for the Red Bulls, Gamarra arrives after a long and drawn out transfer saga. But the key is, the Red Bulls have got their man. He signs as a Young Designated Player from Argentine side Huracan and will be tasked with replacing the creativity of Sacha Kljestan. At 23, the winger nicknamed “Kaku” is an exciting arrival for the league as a whole and Marsch will hope his new No. 10 can instantly adapt to his new surroundings.

Carlos Rivas: Rivas is yet to really feel settled in MLS after three frustrating years at Orlando City. He played 78 games and scored eight goals but now Rivas has the tough task of making a new-look Red Bulls team successful. After heavy losses this offseason, Rivas is an exciting spark of pace which could help add sharpness to  RBNY.

Tommy Redding: Academy product Redding has been heavily sought out since his debut for Orlando as an 18 year-old. In his three seasons for the Lions he amassed 38 matches. At the age of 21 now, Redding has the chance to move his career up a step as he should be pushing to start for the Red Bulls. He will suit the system and is another young addition to what should be a competitive squad in 2018.

Cristian Casseres Jr: To anyone but a professional scout, Casseres will be a completely unknown entity. A Venezuelan youth international, he is only 18 years old, and has only 15 professional club matches to his name. Casseres was signed as a discovery signing by the Red Bulls and could well be the next big MLS talent. One to keep an eye on…

Notable Departures

Sal Zizzo: Winger turned fullback Zizzo has joined Atlanta United after his option was declined by the Red Bulls. In his three seasons in The Big Apple he managed 72 appearances and became their starting right back. Having been in MLS since 2010, his stint in the league continues and he’s still only 30 years old.

Gideon Baah: A very disappointing end for a promising defender; Baah has been left without a club after the Red Bulls declined his option at the end of 2017. It’s upsetting for Baah as injuries have not been kind to the Ghanaian. He leaves New York with a meager nine appearances to his name and will hope to find a new challenge soon, if he can stay healthy.

Mike Grella: Perhaps one of the most underrated players in the league. Grella has left the Red Bulls for the Columbus Crew. He enjoyed three very good years for the Red Bulls in which he scored 16 times in 73 games. Injuries halted his progression last summer and the franchise have decided now is the right time to move him on. Some fans may remember him being selected by Toronto FC in the 2009 SuperDraft before rejecting them to join Leeds United in England.

Sacha Kljestan: One of the biggest shock transfers this offseason so far. For a big name and talent like Kljestan to be moved on takes some doing. The playmaker moves south to Orlando, with Rivas and Redding moving the other way (as mentioned above). At 32 years old, New York Red Bulls have definitely replaced him with fresher legs. But his quality is unquestioned and he will be a huge loss. The fact he registered 51 assists over three seasons highlights just how effective a creator he is.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, March 11 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT)
Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Colorado Rapids 16/5

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome the Colorado Rapids to Red Bull Arena as their first visitors of the new MLS season. Both sides will feel positive going into the game after wins in week one, Colorado beating New England Revolution 1-0 and the hosts seeing off MLS new boys Atlanta United 2-1.

The Red Bulls gave up the majority of possession in last weeks clash in Atlanta, as they earned a hard-fought three points after coming from behind late on. We expect them to enjoy the majority of the possession this week as they settle into their home schedule against a resolute Rapids side.

From first glance at the Dax McCarty-less Red Bulls, it is clear they will struggle more often than not to control games without his calming and experienced presence in the middle. It will be interesting to see how the midfield battle pans out in this one as Michael Azira and Sam Cronin both possess experience in dominating that area of the field for Colorado.

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The visitors come into their first road trip off the back of an impressive 2016 season and the start of this season has already proven very little has changed. They saw off a gutsy New England side who marginally won the battle for possession and had more attempts on goal, but still fell short of earning any points in last Saturday’s season opener.

Colorado will want to follow up last season with a strong run into the playoffs, and after narrowly missing out on the Western Conference title last term, they will want to go one better in 2017.

The Rapids picked up 19 points on the road in the 2016 campaign. If they can improve on that tally this term they will be in a great position to challenge for silverware in 2017.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls only have two injury concerns at the moment with defender Connor Lade ruled out for a while with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, while Gonzalo Veron is a doubt with a minor hamstring issue.

Colorado Rapids will be without goalkeeper John Berner who is struggling with a wrist injury. Tim Howard is listed as questionable with an adductor injury but is back in training and could start here. Midfielder Shkelzen Gashi is a doubt as he is nursing an achilles problem.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls form: W (2-1 – Atlanta United (A)

Colorado Rapids form: W (1-0 – New England Revolution (H)

Key stat: Leaky – New York have conceded at least two goals in their last three home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The USMNT creator is the main supplier to star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips. Expect him to provide multiple chances for the Red Bulls here having already chalked up an assist on opening weekend.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls will be made to work hard by the Rapids but we see them coming out on top with home comforts behind them in what is an intriguing early-season matchup between two sides expecting to challenge at the top end of the Supporters’ Shield standings again this season.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, September 24 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 3/5 – Draw 3/1 – Montreal 4/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome Montreal Impact to Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening in a crunch tie above the red line in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Bulls are sitting 2nd in the East on 45 points ahead of this tie. They are seven points off the pace in the race for the Supporters’ Shield but will still be looking to contend until winning the silverware is not mathematically possible.

Jesse Marsch’s side trail top spot in the East by two points but have played a game more than leaders Toronto. They can book their playoff place for the 7th consecutive season with a win over Montreal here.

RBNY come into this one after that thrilling 3-3 draw away at Toronto. A great one for the neutrals but disappointing for the Red Bulls as they were leading 3-1.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC - Red Bulls players

Montreal Impact are sitting 5th in the East and if results go their way this weekend they could move up to 4th. They need to avoid defeat here to ensure they’re not dragged into a dogfight for a playoff finish.

The Impact are four points above the red line but as we know an advantage can quickly fall from under your feet in MLS.

Mauro Biello’s side face a very tough challenge to take all three points here, they’re up against a Red Bulls side who are unbeaten in their last 12 regular season outings.

Montreal come into this tie having lost 3-1 at home to New England, a game that extended their winless run to three. Impact have a very tough run in, so a draw would be a positive result here, giving them good grounding to push on with confidence.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

New York Red Bulls have four injury concerns heading into this tie as Gideon Baah, Connor Lade and Ronald Zubar are all expected to be out, while Omer Damari is a doubt.

Andres Romero remains the only player out for Montreal Impact.

Key Points

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

Montreal Impact’s last five: D/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last 12 regular season matches.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder maestro has been a consistent performer all season. He has netted five times and racked up an impressive 13 assists.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Sacha Kljestan

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Montreal Impact – New York Red Bulls have been in incredible form of late, they have won nine of their last 11 games at Red Bull Arena and they will fancy their chances of continuing their unbeaten run here. Montreal have both the players and ability to trouble any side in MLS, but this is going to be an incredibly tough tie.

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, July 24 – 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 7/10 – Draw 3/1  – New York City FC 7/2

Match Preview

It’s the Hudson River Derby this Sunday as New York Red Bulls host rivals New York City FC at Red Bull Arena in a huge Eastern Conference battle between two fierce rivals.

New York Red Bulls welcome City for the first time this season, with the previous two meetings both coming at Yankee Stadium. The sides are tied with a win a piece so far this term. The latest meeting ended with a 2-0 loss for the Red Bulls in a result not many would have predicted after they thrashed City 7-0 back in April.

That 2-0 defeat a month ago was also the first time NYCFC managed to overcome their local enemies so this clash couldn’t be more finely poised.

Jesse Marsch’s side come into this one struggling for form, with just one win in their last six outings. The Red Bulls are sitting third on 28 points, trailing NYCFC, who lead the Eastern Conference, by five points going into the weekend.

It is away form that is troubling New York Red Bulls as they have been on a solid run at home. They’ve won six of their last seven ties and kept a clean sheet in their last six at Red Bull Arena.

New York City FC vs New York Red Bulls

New York City FC come into this one with the bragging rights over their rivals, as previously mentioned and sitting topof the East will only boost morale. But there is plenty of work to do to if they are to take all three points here.

Patrick Vieira will be pleased with how his side responded to their 3-1 away loss to SKC as they bounced straight back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Montreal last time out.

NYCFC had the look of a side who believed they could overcome any opponent in that win last weekend, they were under pressure for large parts of the game but defended well and countered with great precision.

The New York City players will be hoping to further avenge the pain they put their fans through in that 7-0 loss at Yankee Stadium with a win in their rivals backyard this time around.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

New York Red Bulls have just two injury concerns heading into the derby as Kemar Lawrence and Gideon Baah both remain out.

New York City have a bit of an injury crisis on their hands at the moment, as they could be without as many as six for this one. Connor Brandt, Steven Mendoza, Shannon Gomez, Ronald Matarrita and Khiry Shelton all look set to miss out, while Andoni Iraola has been training after suffering his ankle injury last weekend but remains a doubt.

Key Points

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

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

Key Stat: Home form – New York Red Bulls have won six of their last seven home games in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder has a huge role for the derby. He will be tasked with keeping the inform NYCFC midfielders quiet. If he can stop the likes of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo bossing the game his side have a great chance of winning this tie. Possibly an even more important task for the Red Bulls midfielder will be to keep service to the City stars to a minimum.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Sacha Kljestan

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-2 New York City FC – This has the makings of a classic tie. Both sides are in form in one way or another. With Red Bulls looking solid at home and with City winning six of their last seven outings it’s difficult to see either side losing. RBNY know they have to win this tie to close the gap on their neighbours, while a draw for NYCFC will see them remain top of the East beyond this weekend. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, June 19 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Seattle 4/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host Seattle Sounders on Sunday evening, with the hosts looking to continue their incredible run of form off the back of the international break.

Before the two-week pause of MLS action, the Red Bulls won three on the bounce, keeping clean sheets in each of those outings.

A 3-0 home victory over Toronto in their most recent game further proved that they seem to be well behind the early season troubles. They enter the weekend in third place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind leaders Philadelphia.

New York City FC vs New York Red Bulls

They will play three consecutive away games from home following Sunday’s clash and so taking three points is even more pivotal than normal.

Seattle travel to New York in bad shape. They are ninth in the West, four points behind the playoff places and 12 points off the top of the table.

Sigi Schmid’s side did win their last outing, beating DC United 2-0 away from home to record a first road victory of the season. But they had lost three in a row before that and have struggled for consistency.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes

They have only won one of five games at Red Bull Arena and don’t look primed to take anything away from Sunday’s game.

The absence of Clint Dempsey, who is away with the US Men’s National Team, will hurt them and so they are up against it before a ball has even been kicked.

Team News

New York Red Bulls have three injury concerns as Damien Perrinelle, Ryan Meara and Kemar Lawrence are all out. Gonzalo Veron will also sit out as he serves a one-game suspension for a red card picked up last time out. Jesse Marsch has no international absences to worry about.

Seattle will travel to New York without star man Clint Dempsey, who is shining for the USA in the Copa America Centenario. Roman Torres and Oalex Anderson both remain sidelined through injury, while Chad Marshall is a doubt with a hamstring strain.

Key Points

NY Red Bulls’ last five: D/L/W/W/W

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: Both sides have scored in this fixture in each of the last five meetings, with a total of 20 goals being scored in that time.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder can control the tempo of games single-handedly but also has the vision to carve out goalscoring chance at any minute. Expect him to cause Seattle numerous problems on Sunday night.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Seattle Sounders – Goals are expected at Red Bull Arena on Sunday evening, but the hosts will fully expect to keep their winning run going by picking up three points. They are looking for a fourth-straight win on the bounce and will likely prove too strong for a Seattle side that has struggled on the road this term. The absence of Clint Dempsey won’t help their cause either.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Wednesday, May 18 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 8/15 – Draw 16/5 – Chicago 5/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome Chicago Fire to Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night in the first of two fixtures for both Eastern Conference sides this week.

The Red Bulls need to start climbing the table. They are eighth in the East heading into this game but are only six points off the top of the conference at this stage.

They must make the most of this double gameweek, with a tricky game away at fierce rivals New York City coming up on Saturday following Wednesday’s clash with the Fire.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City

Jesse Marsch watched his side fall 2-0 at DC last time out, ending a three-game unbeaten run and he will not accept anything less than three points from his players here in what looks like a winnable fixture.

The Fire, however, will be out to seal three points for themselves. They are in poor form, having lost back-to-back games away from home coming into this and are now winless in five.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic knows his side need to start scoring more regularly if they are to have any chance of climbing off the foot of the East. They have netted just five in their last eight games since scoring three in the opening day defeat to NYCFC.

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A 2-0 loss at New England last week saw Chicago fail to keep a clean sheet for the fourth consecutive game and keeping out the Red Bulls at home seems an unlikely feat.

This will be the first of two meetings between the sides this season. They met three times late last season, with the Red Bulls winning both of the most recent meetings after Chicago won at Toyota Park in August.

Team News

The Red Bulls will be without Damien Perrinelle once again, although he is the only certain absentee as backup goalkeeper Ryan Meara is close to returning from a long-term injury. Gonzalo Veron is back to full fitness and could start here.

Chicago Fire will be without John Goossens for the trip to Red Bull Arena, while Collin Fernandez is also unlikely to feature as he is struggling with an ankle strain. Gilberto will be back in contention to start up top, with Kennedy Igboananike likely to start on the wing.

Key Points

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

Chicago Fire’s last five: D/L/D/L/L

Key Stat: Goals, goals, goals – There have been 36 goals in the last eight meeting between these two sides – an average of 4.5 per game.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder has probably been the team’s best player so far this term. He so often proves influential when it matters most and will look to break down a Chicago defence struggling to keep sides out at the moment.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Chicago Fire – This should be another high-scoring game between two sides that are desperate for three points as they look to climb the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls are a strong outfit at home and will prove tough to beat here, while Chicago have yet to win away this season. A home victory looks likely, though both will expect to find the net.

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

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

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Friday, April 29 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 6/4 – Draw 23/10 – FC Dallas 9/5

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host FC Dallas on Friday night in a battle between last season’s Supporters’ Shield rivals.

The Red Bulls lifted the shield in 2015 but a poor start to this season has left them sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference after winning just two of their eight games so far.

Jesse Marsch will be concerned with his side’s form, having watched them lost six times so far, although last weekend’s 3-2 win over Orlando showed the team still have fight left in them to turn things around.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his first two goals of the season in that win and Red Bulls fan will now be hoping he can kick on and start firing the club up the standings.

The visit of FC Dallas is a tricky one, however. The Western Conference leaders have lost just twice in nine outings so far and are a tough nut to crack.

Although they enter this game off the back of a shock 3-0 defeat to Vancouver on Saturday. Dallas had countless chances but couldn’t get through David Ousted and ultimately paid the price, though the scoreline didn’t really reflect the game.

That defeat was the club’s second in four away games this term and they are clearly not the same force on the road as they are at home.

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The Red Bulls will take confidence from that, as well as from the fact they are unbeaten in six MLS games against the Texan club (W5 D1).

Last season’s only meeting between the clubs ended 0-0 at Toyota Stadium, though goals are expected here as the Red Bulls have yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

Team News

New York Red Bulls will still be without central defenders Gideon Baah and Damien Perrinelle, so Ronald Zubar should continue to partner Karl Ouimette at the heart of defence again. Gonzalo Veron also remains sidelined with a hamstring injury as Jesse Marsch may name an unchanged side.

FC Dallas have two injury concerns heading into this one as Alex Zendejas and Matt Hedges are both injured. Mauro Diaz returned to the side on Saturday and will hope to make his first start since March here.

Key Points

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

FC Dallas’ last five: D/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: FC Dallas haven’t managed to score against the Red Bulls in their last three clashes and have now gone 299 minutes without finding a net against the Eastern Conference side.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder has the quality to unlock any defence and has showed that by tallying three assists in his last two outings. New York will look to him to lead the team to back-to-back victories for the first time this season on Friday night.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 1-1 FC Dallas – This is likely to be a tight game, despite the difference in form so far this season. The Red Bulls showed spirit to come back and beat Orlando last weekend, and will need to show that again to take anything from this match. Dallas, on the other hand, will be desperately disappointed to have fallen 3-0 at Vancouver. They need to pick back up but may struggle to walk away with all three points. Score draw.

MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be looking at for Week 5?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The weekend which was used to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first game of Major League Soccer brought us everything we have come to expect from this ever-developing league. There were goals, star names shining through and a whole host of colourful kits on display. This season is already turning into an MLS classic and it’s only just begun.

Week 4 Review

The Good:

It’s fair to say that the Seattle Sounders have performed well below expectations so far this season, having lost their first three fixtures of the season. However, US international Clint Dempsey ($10.9), fresh from scoring for his country against Guatemala, netted a crucial goal to give his side their first win of the season over Montreal last weekend. Meanwhile, ‘super sub’ Adam Jahn ($5.5) netted six minutes after coming on the field to rescue San Jose Earthquakes a late point at home to winless DC United. Orlando City defender Seb Hines ($7.6) opened the scoring in his side’s convincing 4-1 victory against MLS Cup holders Portland Timbers. The defender earned a total of 9 points to help his side climb to the top of the Eastern Conference and remain unbeaten. Trinidadian teammate Kevin Molino ($8.1) won and converted a penalty late in the game, earning 12 points to rank him amongst the highest point-scorers of the week. However, the standout scorer from Orlando’s game and undoubtedly the player of the week was Kaka ($10.7), who contributed two assists and a goal on his way to picking up 16 points in his first appearance of the season.

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The Bad:

Toronto midfielder Benoit Cheyrou ($7.2) was treated to an early bath as he picked up two yellow cards within the first 13 minutes of his side’s away defeat to the Rapids. This was the fastest red card of the season so far and a feat I’m sure Cheyrou won’t be planning to repeat. He certainly won’t be repeating it in Week 5 as he will be suspended for the game away to the struggling Revs. There were a total of four red cards this week, with Philadelphia’s Warren Creavalle ($5.7), the Red Bulls’ Felipe Martins ($8.3) and Vancouver’s Matias Laba ($7.3) all leaving their team down to ten men. No team that was reduced to ten men managed to score this week – leaving a stark reminder of the dangers of going a man down. It was a bad day for the Portland defence in general, who conceded four goals away to Orlando, so any fans of debutant Jack Barmby ($6.9), may feel slightly disappointed at his performance.

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Week 5 Preview

The Must Buys:

As has already been mentioned, Kaka ($10.7) has come back from injury with a bang – so anyone with a bit of leeway in their budget should invest in the former Ballon d’Or winner before his price skyrockets. Joao Plata ($9.4) is still incredible value for money at under $10 and is the highest scoring striker so far this season with 41 points – an average of over 10 points per game. Daniel Steres ($5.2) is also proving fantastic value for money as the 25 year old is establishing himself as a regular in the LA Galaxy defence. He has gone some way to filling the enormous void (literally and metaphorically) that the departure of 6ft 7ins Omar Gonzalez left.

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The Must Sells:

The New York Red Bulls have lost even more players to injury and now Felipe to suspension so things aren’t getting any easier for Jesse Marsch. It might be best to avoid having Red Bulls players in your side for the next few weeks as I would be surprised if they put in any high scoring performances. It’s over to Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.8) and Sacha Kljestan ($11.2) to prove me wrong. Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen ($11.0) also needs to start proving that he is worth that vast sum of money – as Kaka looks much the better option for a team’s midfield and he even comes at a cheaper price at this point.

Who will you be bringing into your MLS Fantasy team for Week 5?