So let's remind ourselves the situation that has been brought to our attention. Yes we know it's Hate DC Week for the second consecutive week and yes the Red Bulls are without Damien Perrinelle but lucky to keep Ronald Zubar on the field. We also know that they scored the only goal of the match in the first leg of this Conference Semi-Finals from Dax McCarty and it doubled as an away goal.
So what is the game plan for this coming Sunday at Red Bull Arena which I think we already know what needs to be done. Prevent DC United from converting any away goals at Red Bull Arena and convert a couple more. But does the game plan stay the same or will there be some changes made.
That's the big question going forward as a one goal margin at this point is a bit slim yet with DC United not recording a shot on goal in nine total shots from the last game can be an advantage for the home side to try and close out this series inside the second ninety minutes.
"I think they have no time to waste & they know that. So we are going to expect them to come flying out of the gate" said Luis Robles, "They will get their captain back (Bobby Boswell) and to have his play and his leadership back on the field will be huge for them. I've said it all season that if we continue to focus on our ability to play, when we focus on our tactics and having the respect of our opponent we really just allow ourselves to play within our own game."
Of course the Red Bulls Captain Dax McCarty who scored the away goal at RFK Stadium in the first leg is also ready to go and take on the clubs most hated rivals in the league. "They will make some tweaks for sure, but we don't know what they will be until we step on the field with them. I think they might take some tactical switches, but both sides will admit that the field was terrible (at RFK). We know they are a good team & it was a bit of an anomaly, but Ben Olsen is a good coach and we will expect some changes."
Of course it's the head coach that has to be aware of what changes might happen in the game or what could happen before the game and that will always be the first worry of the side that is leading the aggregate, but it sounds like Jesse Marsch is expecting something different.
"I think that he has some decisions to make on how to use (Chris) Rolfe on whether he wants to us Boswell, Opare & Birnbaum together. Especially since (Sean) Franklin is out and I think he needs to use his midfield to get a better grasp on the game, but I think their focus will be to play direct, focus on free kicks and set pieces. We aren't looking to protect the lead, we are looking to expand on it."
But as everyone knows this will be another down and dirty, gritty game between the two oldest rivals in this league. For the last 19 seasons the Metro/Red Bulls have had playoff futility and reached a US Open Cup Final in 2003 as well as an MLS Cup Final in 2008 and both were lost. Last season was the first playoff win against DC United in five tries and at the moment they are ninety minutes away from trying to get their second consecutive playoff win against the team in Black & Red.