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Know the Enemy -New York Red Bulls

The Vancouver Whitecaps continue their grueling May schedule with a stop in New York to take on the Red Bulls. We scout the match and speak with Once a Metro about NYRB’s success.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

After back-to-back victories, the Vancouver Whitecaps have been underwhelming in their previous two, losing 1-0 versus Atlanta and then drawing Kansas City 1-1, thanks to a last minute, literally, goal from striker turned central defender, turned side-volley striker again, Derek Cornelius.

Despite being up a man for around 20 minutes in the second half against Sporting Kansas City, the Whitecaps looked unable to find momentum moving forward. Granted, SKC had a lead, at home, and down a man, so they parked the bus. However, the Whitecaps are averaging less than a goal a game (12 in 13 matches) and have been shut out five times. That is 40% of their matches!

Vancouver’s Major League Soccer season continues in New York (sort of) on Saturday, at 4pm PST, where they will play the Red Bulls. The Caps could be quite short-handed with starters Reyna, Erice, and Bangoura sitting out against SKC, and Doneil Henry and Felipe potentially out for the NYRB match after picking up knocks in KC. However, according to Felipe, he is ready to go if asked.

With five potential starters out of the lineup, and a compressed schedule right now, we could see several new players. Although, it is worth noting that we expected that with SKC and Marc Dos Santos only made two changes from the poor performance against Atlanta.

In preparation for the match, we spoke with Once a Metro’s Daniel_Feuerstein (@DFeuerstein) about New York Red Bulls’ slow start but recent up-tick, their academy success, and scoring by committee.

1. The NYRB got off to a slow start this season, with only one win in their first seven matches. They have now won four of their last five. What has led to this change?

The change has been formation at first going to a 5 man backline. Injuries are finally healing up our left fullback in Kemar Lawrence and our Right fullback Michael Murillo was benched for his immature attitude. Now he’s back to his old self.

2. The Vancouver Whitecaps have one of the longest running academies in MLS, but have not had the best of luck in turning out MLS (or higher) caliber players. Conversely, NYRB seem to be excellent at doing this. Why do you think the NYRB have been so successful in this regard?

I think the main reason why the Red Bulls have been so successful with their academy is that there are legends and coaches that believe in the system. John Wolyniec runs the USL Championship side and Simon Nee who runs the U 23’s has them roaring and playing strong.

Not saying the youth talent is lacking in Vancouver, but there is a plethora of big talented kids locally in the 5 boroughs, northern NJ as well as Southern Connecticut.

3. In seasons past, New York has relied heavily on Bradley Wright Phillips for their goals. This season, it appears to be goals-by-committee. Do you see this as a positive or is there concern that the club doesn’t have someone to turn to when they really need a goal?

Seeing what Brian White and now Tom Barlow has done, is incredible. Sure it’s tough to lose a legend like BWP to a groin injury, but everyone has this belief when the big man is down, it’s next man up. That goes from USL League 2 side to USL Championship Side and the reserves in the main MLS roster. It’s a true family affair.