The Challengers: New York Red Bulls (10-6-6) vs. Toronto FC (9-9-4)
When: Saturday, August 15 - 7:00 PM TV: TSN 2 Radio: TSN 1050
Weather: Partly cloudy, 33 degrees
There’s no question what colour New York is following Sunday’s Hudson River Derby. The Red Bulls made it a clean sweep, three wins to zero, with a 2-0 win over New York City FC. Consider how the season began for the Red Bulls, with fans voicing their anger over the sacking of head coach Mike Petke at a fiery town hall meeting, to where the club is now. Jesse Marsch has his club playing the best soccer in the Eastern Conference. “We saw them twice in preseason and they haven’t changed [a lot],” said Vanney. “They’re a team that’s going to put you under pressure. They’re going to force you into mistakes.” The team has been led by Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella and Dax McCarty. The emergence of Matt Miazga, a future captain and one of the best young players in the league, has provided stability at the back. The Red Bulls are no longer a team defined by the presence of Thierry Henry. Jozy Altidore knows the club well. It’s where he began his MLS career. “My first goal against Columbus [was my favourite memory] from my time there,” he said. “I’ll never forget it. They were patient with me and I have a lot to be thankful to them for.” For that reason the American international is pleased to see the Red Bulls doing well after a tumultuous offseason. “They look to have found an identity. Jesse Marsch has done a great job. It’s an organization and a fan base that’s been wanting more for a long time now. It’ll be a great matchup for us.”
Steven Caldwell joins the guys to talk about TFC's defence, how the Eastern Conference is stacking up and the challenge presented by an in form Red Bulls side.
Damien Perquis (quadriceps) is questionable for the match leaving Ahmed Kantari, Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund as options for Vanney at centre-back. Kantari has played every minute of three games since joining the club in July while Hagglund is returning from an appendectomy. At some point you would have to imagine Kantari will get a breather. That could come on Saturday night. There is a chance Josh Williams, who made his first trip with the Reds on Friday, could also be an option for Toronto. Vanney has made it known he will not accept more defensive errors from his backline. Don’t be surprised if TFC’s manager shakes things up at the back after stressing accountability the past week.
Herculez Gomez and Josh Williams traveled with the Reds to New Jersey for the match.
- Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his fourth goal in the last five matches – as the Red Bulls remained undefeated over that stretch – in their 2-0 win against New York City FC on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena to complete their season series sweep of the Gotham Derby.
- Sebastian Giovinco collected his 11th assist of the season – one off the MLS assist lead – setting up Michael Bradley’s first goal since June 24, but Toronto FC still saw their four-game undefeated run at BMO Field come to an end in a 3-1 defeat by Sporting Kansas City on Saturday afternoon.
- The Red Bulls are undefeated at Red Bull Arena all-time vs. Toronto FC, with five wins and a draw (and a 17-4 goal differential). TFC’s only away win vs. New York came in 2008, a 3-1 win at Giants Stadium. When Toronto FC defeated the Red Bulls 2-0 last May 17 in the only meeting at BMO Field, it snapped a 10-game winless streak in the series, their first victory since 2009.