Toughest schedule? The Quakes can make a pretty good case. In the first week, they lost in stoppage time to Dallas, who went 3-0 in their first three games. In the second week, the Quakes beat Seattle in Seattle, a team that was ranked #1 at the time. The Quakes went on the road and lost by one goal to MLS Cup runner-up New England in Gillette Stadium. The Quakes played a currently undefeated RSL team two weeks ago, losing by one goal. The Quakes defeated a second #1 ranked MLS team in Vancouver last week. Now they are back on the road to play the current #1 ranked MLS team: New York Red Bulls, who are also undefeated after coming back from a 2-0 deficit to D.C. United last week. It’s tough to argue against the Quakes having the toughest starting schedule of any MLS team, especially going on the road to Dallas, Seattle, New England, and now New York.
Scouting Report: New York Red Bulls
As previously mentioned, the Red Bulls (2-0-2) are ranked #1 in the MLS power rankings.* According to Whoscored.com, the Red Bulls rank first in aerials won per game (26.3), offsides drawn per game (3.3), shots on target per game (5.8), and overall offense when factoring all major statistics. They are ranked second in tackles per game (22.5) and interceptions per game (24.3), third in shots per game (13.8), and fourth in fouls drawn per game (14). Those are some impressive numbers.
The New York Red Bulls have gone through some changes, notably missing superstar Thierry Henry (retirement) and former coach Mike Petke (fired by the 36-year-old and newly hired sporting director Ali Curtis). However, they do have the reigning Golden Boot champion in designated player Bradley Wright-Phillips. They also have a very potent offense with notable names such as speedy midfielder Lloyd Sam (who already has three goals in just four games this season), midfielder Felipe Martins, and veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan. They average 1.75 goals/game, tops in the league.
Defensively, NYRB only give up an average of 1 goal/game. They are anchored by GK Luis Robles, CBs Damien Perrinelle (who currently averages 0.75 yellow cards/game) and homegrown 19-year-old Matt Miazga. They also have a speedy RB in Chris Duvall, who is not afraid to attack.
Quakes Line Up Predictions
First and foremost, Adam Jahn is out on a red-card suspension, so look for Wondo up top. Also, Jordan Stewart might be back! If Stewart is able to play, I would love to see Kinnear play a 4-3-1-2 with both Wondo and Emeghara up top, MPG in the middle, Cato, Alashe, and Nyassi as the defensive mids, Wynne, Goodson, Bernardez, and Stewart on the back line. I think having two forwards that can score would really free up MPG to create space using speedsters Nyassi and Cato on the wings.
Subs: Meredith, Harden, Koval, Pierazzi, Salinas, Barrera, and Thompson
Injury Report & Suspensions
According to MLS Injury report and Disciplinary Committee (DisCo) suspensions, the Quakes will be playing without:
- Adam Jahn (F) – Suspension
- Mark Sherrod (F) – Knee Surgery
- Steven Lenhart (F) – Knee Surgery
- Shaun Francis (D) – Concussion
- Jordan Stewart (D) – Calf strain, although this might be wrong!
Final Score Prediction
2-1 Quakes. Even though the Quakes laid an egg the last time they were back East against the Revs, I think they’ll play much better this time around. The weather won’t be as bad (rainy, but not freezing rain). NYRB almost lost last week to DC United (came back from two down to earn a 2-2 draw), and I’m not ready to anoint them the best team in the league, even if MLS is, especially having only played four games. They no longer have Henry, who was the biggest reason for their previous success. They have a new coach setting up a new system which uses a high-tempo press style. This style is easily countered by speedy players, of which the Quakes are stacked.
The Quakes also have a few things going for us. We play well against good teams. We should have the entire defensive unit ready, and if the past few weeks have shown anything, it’s that our defense should be considered one of the best in the league. We also have a bye-week coming up (thanks, MLS), so expect the team to leave everything on the field for this match.
- Dubbers Sports Bar in downtown Salinas.
- SF Athletic Club in San Francisco
- Commonwealth Cafe & Public House in Oakland
- Rookies Sports Bar in San Jose
Game Time: Friday (4/17) at 4:00pm on UniMas
*All stats are at the time of article publication and are subject to change throughout the season.