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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 7 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 29, 2009

Rapids versus Red Bulls preview

After another frustrating loss, it's possible that the last team the New York Red Bulls would want to face next is the Colorado Rapids.

The Rapids and Red Bulls will meet at Giants Stadium on Saturday night after Colorado scored nine goals in winning both matchups a year ago.

New York (2-6-3) continues to languish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference as it concludes a four-game homestand. The Red Bulls fell to 1-1-1 on the homestand after wasting 10 shots on goal in a 1-0 loss to East-leading Chicago on Sunday.

It marked the sixth time New York has been shut out this year.

"It is very frustrating because we do ... during training, we do plenty of drills and entrances into the attacking third, that is like our bread and butter every day and we convert so many chances and different types of goals," New York coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "And we come to the games and miss them, it is very disappointing."

This match starts a stretch in which New York will play three matches in nine days, with trips to Eastern Conference rivals D.C. and New England to follow. The Red Bulls, who reached MLS Cup last year for the first time, know this span could define their season.

"I think we work very hard in practice," defender Mike Petke said. "It was a good game plan put out, and it's up to us to follow it. Sometimes, I think we do and we still get the short end of the stick, and not all the time, we do. I don't know what's going on."

If last year's results are an indicator, Colorado (3-2-4) could add to New York's woes. The Rapids took the season series for the first time, winning 4-0 at home and 5-4 on the road.

Conor Casey scored three times and Omar Cummings twice in those matches for Colorado, which has one win and three draws in its last four overall.

Casey scored his team-high sixth goal last Saturday and Colin Clark added his second of the year in a 2-all draw with Seattle. The Rapids have blown leads in their last three ties.

"I feel like even at 2-1, 1-0, with a one-goal lead we're very capable of pulling away with a victory," Clark said. "There's just some 'it' factor that we can't control, and I don't know what it is. We need to get it sorted out though."

In last year's 5-4 win at Giants Stadium, Casey scored right before the half and also in the final minute of the match. That's a trend that has plagued New York this season, with the Red Bulls allowing five of their 13 goals in the closing moments of a half.

New York will again be without midfielder Jorge Rojas, who will serve the second and final game of his suspension for a red card against Houston on May 16.

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