Seattle, WA – The top-two teams in the overall MLS table will square off at CenturyLink Field on Sunday as Seattle Sounders FC plays host to a shorthanded Red Bull New York side.
The Red Bulls, who sit one point clear of the Sounders atop the Supporters' Shield standings, will be without marquee players Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave for the monumental clash, but that will not weather the team's desire to pick up a positive result against a star-studded Seattle team in tough environment.
"For us as footballers, to go to that place, the fans are amazing," Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill told MLSsoccer.com. "They do really give a lift and they seem to suck the ball in the net even though some times it doesn't deserve to go in net.
"I know for a fact that we're going to need 14 players for that game and we're going to have to have tactics to change things up and adapt to different styles of what they're going to do. I'm confident that we can work hard this week to prepare and hopefully give them a good battle. I think this will be the hardest test of our season, away at Seattle."
Dax McCarty, who once again has been one of New York's most influential players this term, is looking forward to the atmosphere and the hope to get a result to maintain the club's lead in the race for the Supporters' Shield.
"It's going to be a fun one, it's going to be a lot of fun," McCarty told MLSsoccer.com. "I'll probably be singing a different tune when we've got 40-50,000 people barking against us in Seattle and it should be a great atmosphere.
"Our depth is going to be tested again, but it's going to be a huge game. If we can get a result up there, a win or even a draw, I think we have to consider that a positive because we have a couple of teams directly competing us with the Supporters' Shield but obviously they are right behind us."
The Red Bulls bring a four-game winning run into the clash, though three of those victories have come from the comfort of their home field. New York only has managed a pedestrian 5-7-3 record from its away games this term.
The visitors will come up against a surging Seattle side that is enjoying a six-game unbeaten run, avoiding defeat in every contest since its 3-1 road loss to the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 17.
Even more impressive has been Seattle's home form in recent months. The Sounders have lost just once at CenturyLink Field all season, falling to the Montreal Impact in their opening match. Since the defeat, Sigi Schmid's men have produced a remarkable record of 10-0-3 on their home turf.
"We're confident on the road as well. But having those fans behind you definitely helps," Schmid told the club's official website. "We get a lot of them on the road, too, but home games are definitely special."