The New York Red Bulls start their three game roadtrip with a visit to the Windy City. The Red Bulls play Chicago Fire on Saturday August 11th at 8:30 PM.
Preview: Red Bulls visit Chicago Fire
The Red Bulls stand in second place in the Eastern Conference, with 44 points in 22 games played. They are currently tied atop the Supporter’s Shield standings with Atlanta United FC, at 2 PPG. The Red Bulls want to continue playing well on this road trip. The Fire have fewer points than games played, with 23 points picked up in their 24 games played.
No matter the records, the Fire beat the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena 2-1 earlier this season. The Fire won with Aleksandar Katai and Nemanja Nikolic SCORING; while Bradley Wright-Phillips scored lone goal of the game. The high tensity Fire need to score goals on the fast break if they want to change their luck on Saturday.
The Red Bulls were able to recapture their winning style in last week’s game versus Los Angeles FC. The team coming off of a loss at home to the Columbus Crew SC needed to pick up points before traveling to Chicago. The Red Bulls have won six of their last eight games, resulting in a goal differential of +7.
The Fire, on the other hand, have very bleak playoff chances. Their PPG is less than 1 and are in the midst of a six game losing streak. Coming off of a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals, the Fire will look to reverse course and finish the summer on a high note. The Red Bulls need to score early and often as Toyota Park is traditionally a house of horrors for the club, despite better results in recent years.
Players to Watch
Wright-Phillips coming off of a game where the Front Office announced his jersey retirement, is a player to watch. As the only Red Bulls player to have scored earlier in the season versus the Fire, BWP will want to score again versus a struggling team. As the third highest goal scorer in MLS, he has a chance to move back up to second say he scores one more goal than Zlatan this weekend. Wright-Phillips has not scored in the last two games, but did provide a crucial assist in last week’s win versus LAFC. Hopefully this match, a goal scored by him could paired with 3 points rather than a loss.
Nikolic is the highest scoring player on the Fire, with 10 goals this season. As one of the team’s Designated Players, the forward has made his mark on the league in less than two years time. Last season he won the Golden Boot after scoring 24 goals in the 2017 regular season. However, Nikolic has seemed to not be at the same level he was last season. No matter the fact, he was one of the two players to have scored at New York in April, which resulted in an away Fire win. Due to this and his goal scoring history, if the Fire are going to win at home versus the Red Bulls, they need a big night from their DP forward.