New York Red Bulls (1-0-0)
Head coach: Hans Backe, first year
Last week: Beat Chicago 1-0 at home
Last year’s record: 5-19-6
RED BULLS KEY PLAYERS
F Juan Pablo Angel — Colombian forward has height (6 foot 1), talent and experience. All it takes is one misstep by the defense and the savvy veteran has found the back of the net.
M Joel Lindpere — The new guy from Estonia has scored in the first two home games (Santos and Chicago). Lots of European experience. One of the breakout players of the league, so far.
GK Bouna Coundoul — Has to talent to be among the top half of the league’s backstops. But also can make the ill-timed gaff or allow an easy rebound. Will need to be sharp.
NY midfielder Dane Richards v. Sounders FC defender Leo Gonzalez
Richards is a very streaky, inconsistent winger along the right side. The speedster also can be extremely dangerous when he’s on form. Leo likes to get forward, but defense will be his biggest priority on Saturday.
Lindpere v. Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso
The Estonian has a rocket shot and is becoming just as much a focus in New York’s offense as Angel. Ozzie will need to cut down his space and make life difficult. Like Leo, might also do best in holding back a little more than normal.
Hans Backe v. Sounders FC crowd
Can the first-year coach wield some magic and come away with a point in a hostile environment? Or will the crazies in the stands — meant affectionately — make life miserable for the visitors (who haven’t won on the road since 2008)?
Everyone wants to think the Red Bulls will be better this year. That should be pretty obvious. It’d be almost impossible to be worse…
They don’t get the benefit of the doubt from me. They’ll have to earn it.
Sounders FC 2, New York 0
39′ — Zakuani (Montero)
80′ — Nyassi (Evans)