I don't want to say that NYCFC is bad at home - but the Red Bulls pretty much proved that last week. They go home to Harrison with a lot of momentum, something TFC is without at this stage.
The Reds are without Jozy Altidore. They are without Michael Bradley. Sebastian Giovinco, blessedly, is sticking around. The game against Columbus had some bad signs in it - not the least of which was the lackluster play of Jay Chapman in the first half and Jonathan Osorio in the second half. Both are capable of producing better, and they will have to in Bradley's absence.
The Red Bulls are not going to score 7 against TFC. Our defense is much to sturdy, and an output like that can only be an anomaly. Still, the Red Bulls will be a tough opponent, and unless TFC can find a way to put the ball in the net, its going to be difficult to come away with any points here.
Tactically, these teams are a great battle against one another. Both want to control the middle of the park, and have great pieces in place. New York benefits from having Sacha Kljestan and Dax McCarty entirely overlooked for the National Team, and have their two best players present. It will be tough for Will Johnson and whoever else slots in to midfield for TFC. Up front, Bradley Wright-Phillips is rounding in to form. We do have Giovinco, though. And he's better when he's angry, like a tiny Hulk.
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Marky Delgado and Benoit Cheyrou are apparently both ready to return, and the timing couldn't be better. I think Delgado goes from the start in this one, but Cheyrou starts on the bench. If the US Men's National Team make a long run in Copa America, it will be good to have Cheyrou there to cover some of Michael Bradley's minutes. Babouli had his best game as a pro against Columbus, and looks like he may be adjusting to some of the rigors of MLS. Here's hoping he has a breakout game.
Try as I might, I don't see TFC getting a win here. Optimistically, they bunker and go for a draw, but the Red Bulls are a hard team to play against. Jesse Marsch may not be married to the High Press of their Supporter's Shield winning season, but the Red Bulls still know how to get it done. My Prediction: a disappointing 2-0 loss for the Reds.
The game kicks off at 7 PM in New Jersey - you can catch it on SN 360.