The New York Red Bulls will host the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on Saturday for the team’s home opener.
Despite being knocked out of the Concacaf Champions League Tuesday by Santos Laguna, head coach Chris Armas and company know they have a long season ahead of them. The team opened the MLS season with a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew back on March 2nd with a heavily rotated squad.
The Red Bulls look to continue their impressive home record from last year where they went 14-2-1 in league play. The Red Bulls also conceded the least amount of goals in league play last year allowing only 33 goals in 34 matches. Chris Armas’ team has not allowed a goal in league play at Red Bull Arena since their game against LAFC back on August 5th, a 630 minute streak.
San Jose started their MLS season off poorly, losing both of their first two matches. They fell to the Montreal Impact 2-1, and lost last weekend 3-0 to Minnesota United, both of their matches were at home.
Despite starting the year poorly, the Earthquakes are still adjusting to life under new head coach Matias Almeyda. Red Bull fans remember Almeyda as the coach of Chivas Guadalajara, the team that eliminated them from CCL play a year ago. Almeyda’s new system relies on man marking, which Armas says adds a wrinkle to the game plan, but should not create additional problems for the Red Bulls.
“How they do that all over the field is interesting,” said Armas at practice Thursday. “Often times very effective. It has it’s soft spots that we’ll try to expose but, it makes you earn everything. We’ll have to be ready for that and combat that. His teams are hard to play against. They don’t give away much, and there is always creativity on the other side of the ball. He’s a great coach with clear ideas, and we’ll be ready for that challenge.”
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography