Red Bull Arena welcomes home one of the greatest athletes New Jersey has ever produced. One of the greatest American goalkeepers to ever don the US jersey. And a legend for the Metrostars/Red Bull New York franchise.
The Colorado Rapids (7-14-6) visit the New York Red Bulls (12-11-5) this Saturday, which will be Tim Howard’s final professional game in his home state in front of his friends, family, and thousands of admirers. Howard announced at the start of this year that 2019 would be his final professional season before hanging ‘em up.
He is not the only iconic figure with ties to the New York organization that will also be present on Saturday. Robin Fraser, who was an assistant coach with RBNY from 2013-2014 under Mike Petke, will be on the sidelines for the Rapids. Iconic because he was the tactical brain behind the franchise’s first piece of silverware, winning the 2013 Supporters’ Shield.
Saturday will be Fraser’s first game in charge of the Colorado side, one week after being named their head coach.
As for the home team, they are coming off a tough week where they played to 1-1-1 record over eight days against all eastern conference foes who are equally battling for a high seed in the playoffs.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the New York club right now, like, what is their best eleven? Can they maintain a high level of soccer for more than 45 minutes? Did the team lose the ‘chip on their shoulders’? Will the team even make the playoffs, or will they limp in?
With six games left on the season, three home and three away, it’s frustrating for the supporters to see an inconsistent product being put on the field week-in and week-out. It is also disappointing to see the team only bring in one reinforcement in the summer transfer window knowing they need help in multiple areas on the field.
Not to mention that summer signing arrived with only seven games to help make a difference. Shows the commitment the organization currently has to keep up with the top dogs in the league.
Players to watch
All eyes are on the shiny new toy: Josh Sims. The fanbase will be hoping he can bring some life to a predictable one-man offense. Daniel Royer can’t do it all by himself.
For the Rapids, their two main strikers, Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio, have both been leading the pack up front combining for 20 goals and four assists on the season. Currently though, Diego Rubio is on fire, having scored five goals in the last six games. The Chilean international was just called up to represent his country because of his fine form.
Farewell to a legend
It was a pleasure to see you grow up, Timmy. From watching you play in your backyard at Giants Stadium to oversees in Manchester and Liverpool playing against the world’s best, and representing your country on the world’s greatest stage in South Africa and Brazil.
Congratulations on an extraordinary career, Secretary.
Photo by Matt Kremkau