Published January 08, 2015
Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The New England Revolution will aim to continue their postseason tear on Sunday when they face Red Bull New York at Red Bull Arena in the opening leg of the Eastern Conference finals.
New England has been the in-form side down the stretch of the MLS campaign, closing the regular season with a 10-2-2 record.
The Revs managed to carry that dominant run into the playoffs where they dismantled the Columbus Crew over two legs, advancing from the East semis by a 7-3 aggregate score.
But a daunting tie awaits New England, a club that has never managed to get a victory at Red Bull Arena.
Pair that with New England's five-match winless run against the Red Bulls and it's realistic to see the Revolution's postseason charge coming to an end.
New York ousted top seed D.C. United in the previous round by a 3-2 aggregate score, bringing the Red Bulls to just their second-ever conference championship appearance. The first came in 2008 when they advanced to MLS Cup but stumbled in a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew in the title match.
Retirement speculation surrounding Thierry Henry persists, but if 2014 turns out to be his final season, the Frenchman is going out with a bang. Henry has assisted on four of New York's five postseason goals thus far, but he is far from satisfied.
"On a personal point of view, and I'm sure it is the same with (our fans), we haven't done anything yet," said Henry. ... "We were in the same situation last year and lost in the first round so things happen. It will go down in history as the first time we've beaten D.C. in the playoffs, but that's it. We have to go forward, try to concentrate, stay committed in what's coming next."
The only snag in New York's defeat of United came when Roy Miller picked up an unnecessary red card late in the second leg, ruling the Costa Rican out for both matches against New England.
"Roy, I think is the best left back in this league, it's my opinion," said RBNY head coach Mike Petke. "But we have a young guy like (Ambroise) Oyongo who has proved to be ready and capable to play in that position. So we're OK."
Oyongo does like to attack down the flank, so the Revs, who have notched an MLS-high seven goals in the 2014 MLS Cup playoffs, may look to exploit the left side in attack.
New England's strategy also figures to include some high pressure on New York's defense, which has been mistake-prone throughout the season.
"I think the way football is played now is that you need everybody being able to put pressure on and I feel like it starts with the front runners," said Revs striker Teal Bunbury. "If we could put pressure on their back line then it causes them to make mistakes and it gets the guys behind us motivated as well to put pressure. So, I feel like the work rate that we start up front correlates and spreads to the whole team."