Plenty at stake for SKC, RBNY

There will be plenty on the line when Red Bull New York welcomes Sporting Kansas City this week.

The two sides are separated by just two points in the Eastern Conference table as Sporting occupies first place on 51 points and New York sits third on 49 points.

A subplot to the match will be if Sporting can add a victory to its league- best road record of 7-4-2 on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena, a venue at which the Red Bulls are still unbeaten this season.

"Obviously, we're trying to get three points," Sporting defender Matt Besler told "We never try to get just one point from anywhere. We're certainly aware of the threat that New York brings, especially at home. They're a very good team, so we're going to have to be cautious on the defensive end. But at the same time, we're going for three."

Wednesday's tilt will be the second of three meetings between the two clubs this term. Sporting and New York played to a 1-1 draw at Livestrong Sporting Park on August 26, and Kansas City will return to Red Bull Arena once more on October 20.

"The big thing will be the travel, the recovery, the travel again and then getting ready for the next game," head coach Peter Vermes said. "We've been on that roller coaster before. We're not new to it. We'll just have to make sure that everybody's ready to go and play.

"We just have to be alert and concentrated for 90-plus minutes, especially with this first game against New York."

Heading into the massive clash against Sporting, Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe insisted that his squad is feeling fresh despite an intense match, which it won 3-1, against the Columbus Crew at the weekend.

"Everyone looks quite fresh, I must say," Backe told "It's only Wilman [Conde], picked up probably just a bruise and will train tomorrow, but everyone looks fresh. I think it's definitely a possibility to play the same lineup."

The Red Bulls are riding a five-game unbeaten streak and are well-positioned for a strong finish to the regular season. Four of their last six games, including Wednesday's tilt with Sporting, are at home. It's two road games are at the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union, giving the club a light travel schedule ahead of the playoffs.