[TV PREVIEW]New York can clinch a playoff spot and just as importantly prove it can beat the three-time MLS Cup finalist New England, which it has been unable to do in two previous meetings this season. These two teams could very well be paired as the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
NEW YORK (11-10-4) vs. NEW ENGLAND (13-6-6)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, HDNet, Direct Kick
The Revs won, 1-0, in the Meadowlands July 14 with an Andy Dorman goal and knocked off the Red Bulls, 2-1, Aug. 25 on a Taylor Twellman goal and Carlos Mendes's already legendary 40-yard own goal past a floundering Jon Conway. Jozy Altidore had scored prior to Twellman's equalizer.
Pat Noonan's return to health is a bad omen for NYRB's back line, which can battle but is rather easily flummoxed by the poise and guile Noonan can bring to the attack. Dema Kovalendo, Joe Vide and Claudio Reyna will need to smother Andy Dorman and the other Revs midfielders to limit the damage Noonan and Twellman can cause.
Noonan scored twice last Saturday as New England rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat FC Dallas, 4-2, yet midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Khano Smith also hit the net.
New York claimed a 2-2 tie in Chicago last week and it was a fortunate point. NYRB's first goal came on a Dave van den Bergh shot that took two deflections en route to the net, and a ludicrously unnecessary handball by Wilman Conde provided the penalty kick for a second goal. Leading by a goal and up a man following Conde's ejection, the Red Bulls conceded an equalizer.
This week RBNY needs to prove a point, not settle for one.