September 18, 2012
THE BIG GAME
Red Bulls can move into 1st with win over KC
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- The Red Bulls have their playoff destiny in their hands. Or perhaps more importantly at their feet.
|Tim Cahill: "We're at home now and we're on a good run.The main thing is we' training well, we're traveling well and we're going to give everything tomorrow.It's good for our confidence and obviously we'll take in a lot of momentum that we've already
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Win three vital home games against Sporting Kansas City (twice) and the Chicago Fire (once) and they're in the Major League Soccer post-season.
Of course, that is much easier said than done.
But the Red Bulls (14-7-7, 49 points) can start determining their fate against Kansas City (15-7-6, 51) at Red Bull Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m. (MSG). Win, and they will climb into first place in the Eastern Conference past KC.
Lose or draw, KC remains atop the conference.
Yeah, it's a big game, a big, big game.
"It's a big one," Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. "It's the biggest one for a long time. . . . It is a big one because we know we have four out of six at home. If you beat the guys in front of you, you give yourselves a great chance to win the East."
Red Bulls captain and striker Thierry Henry reminded reporters that the Chicago Fire (15-8-5, 50) is in second place and that that club could still play an important role.
"It's going to be a tough game, obviously playing for the first spot," he said. "But people are forgetting that Chicago is in-between. It may not be all Kansas City or all New York Red Bulls at the end of the weekend. You have to remember that. Houston is right around the corner and it's going to be a big right to see who is going to finish first.
"We can kind of put a statement out there. But we still have to play Chicago at home and Kansas City. It's just a game we need to win like we had to win against Columbus. When Toronto comes around, we're going to have to beat Toronto and it won't be easy."
The Red Bulls enter the game on five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2). They haven't lost a game since a 2-0 defeat at the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 3. They are unbeaten at home -- 10-0-3.
Midfielder Tim Cahill felt the team's recent form -- at home and on road -- will help the team. He brought up the Red Bulls' 1-1 draw at KC on Aug. 26.
"There was a lot of pressure on us in the away game not to lose," he said. "We got a good result. We stayed very compact. A few comments from their manager after about us packing the box, but in this game you've got to have different tactics on the way we play. You saw what we did against D.C.
"We're at home now and we're on a good run. The main thing is we' training well, we're traveling well and we're going to give everything tomorrow.It's good for our confidence and obviously we'll take in a lot of momentum that we've already had."
And now it's up to the Red Bulls to show what they can do against Kansas City at home.