In a potential preview of this year's MLS Cup final, the New York Red Bulls host Real Salt Lake at 4:00 pm EST. While the LA Galaxy are still in position to take the Supporter's Shield, RSL and NYRB can stay in te hunt and also maintain their playoff positions with FC Dallas and Columbus close behind. The Red Bulls in particular can create some distance between Eastern conference foe Columbus, who after a tough loss Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup final vs. Seattle, lost 2-0 last night a Chicago Fire side fighting to stay alive and catch Colorado for the final playoff spot.
New York will be missing Bouna Condoul (Senegal) and Dane Richards (Jamaica) for international team play. So while there won't be any "Bouna time" tonight, backup keeper Greg Sutton has proved he is a more than competent fill-in option. So what will decide tonight's game? It will all come down to the midfield and how well Tony Tchani, Rafa Marquez, Joel Lindpere, and Mehdi Ballouchy can contain and counter against a formidable Salt Lake attack. If they can put pressure on Kyle Beckerman and support New York's back four to neutralize Saborio, Findley, and Espindola, the Red Bulls should come away with the win.
Prediction: NYRB win 2-1 with goals by Angel and Lindpere. And if the Red
Bulls take the match, look for youngsters Austin Da Luz, Connor Chinn, and Juan Agudelo to see some time as manager Hans Backe rests more veteran players down the stretch.