That’s it folks, the World Cup break is over for MLS. While Wednesday was the official return, tonight kicks off the weekend action for MLS and some clubs will still be without some key players.
The New York Red Bulls (4-5-6) host Canadian foes TFC (6-4-1) at 8pm in Harrison, NJ with the Red Bulls looking to build momentum and make a strong push to stay in a playoff spot. While the Red Bulls trail TFC only by a point, TFC has played 4 fewer games than NY. The Red Bulls sit in 5th place, tied with the Columbus Crew as well so this eastern conference match up is key for NY.
The Red Bulls are looking to get healthy again and will only be missing Dax McCarty from injury. Thierry Henry has returned from his work for BBC and Tim Cahill returned on Wednesday from Brazil and the Australian camp as they were eliminated along with Spain in their group play. Coach Petke has confirmed Cahill will be in the 18 but was not committed to what role the Australian standout would play. For NY, Cahill has been best playing up top as a partner with Henry. However, Bradley Wright-Phillips currently leads the golden boot race and has been stellar for NY since Cahill was forced out due to a combination of injuries/international call-ups. Whatever his role may be, Cahill will be important to the Red Bulls moving forward. One player NY won’t have back for a bit is left back Roy Miller who, along with his fellow Ticos of Costa Rica, advanced to the round of 16 and will play Greece. It’s a big hole for NY to fill and they still have yet to find the right fit using a combination of Kosuke Kimura and Bobby Convey in the position.
The Reds will be without midfield general Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Julio Cesar but still have DP forward Jermaine Defoe running the channels. It was Defoe who opened the scoring in a TFC 2-0 win after a perfectly slotted through ball by Bradley Orr. IT’s the kind of play that has killed the Red Bulls all season long. It seems NY goes as their midfield goes and if their midfield can’t close down the passing lanes, then teams will smoke NY.