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N.Y. Red Bulls vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Preview | MLS Soccer Free Pick

MLS Soccer Predictions – N.Y. Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps

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Matchup: Vancouver Whitecaps v New York Red Bulls
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2011
Time: Kick-off: 5:30 PM EST
Venue: Empire Field, Vancouver, BC.
TV: TSN
MLS Fixture Betting Lines and Odds from BetOnline
Money Line: New York (+135), Vancouver (+175), Draw (+220)

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The New York Red Bulls will travel north of the border seeking their first win in the month of May when they kick off against the expansion Vancouver White Caps on Saturday.

New York has recorded just three points in its last three matches and will have had very little time to prepare, let alone work out any kinks in their offensive attack that boasts a star-studded roster including international superstars Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.

For a side that once resembled a front-runner, the Red Bulls are far behind in their quest for this year’s Community Shield, currently ten points back of the Los Angeles Galaxy. And with five key players –Marquez, Agudelo, Ream, Richards, and DeRosario — leaving for the Gold Cup later this summer, the team must win as many as they can in the few short weeks ahead.

After an exciting 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena against the reigning champion Colorado Rapids, New York pulled into tie with Philadelphia for first place in the Eastern Conference, but haven’t won a game since April 30– a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City.

The Red Bulls fell behind early when Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz opened the scoring by tapping in the rebound of his own failed penalty shot in the 27th minute. The Bull’s Henry tied the game with a strike from 19 yards out just two minutes later with his sixth goal of the season to tie DC United’s Charlie Davis for second place in MLS.

The two goals started the league’s fastest scoring spree since March 28, 2008, when Houston and San Jose also combined for four goals in six minutes.

Larentowicz put the Rapids back ahead in the 32nd minute with his fourth of the season before Luke Rodgers would tap home the equalizer past keeper Matt Pickens for his fourth goal on the year.

Meanwhile, the Whitecaps haven’t played a match since their 1-0 loss at New England back on May 14. Vancouver sits in last place in the Western Conference with its lone win coming in their home opener against Toronto FC. BetOnline

Playing its sixth and final game this month, Vancouver will return to Major League Soccer action after a brief hiatus during the Nutrilite Canadian Championship against Toronto. The second leg of this year’s NCC was due to be completed on Wednesday night, but lightning and heavy rain postponed the contest, and despite the ‘Caps taking a lead 1-0, the leg will now be replayed in its entirety from a 0-0 score line at Toronto’s BMO Field on Saturday, July 2.

Saturday’s match will be the first-ever meeting between Whitecaps and New York, with both clubs set to meet again this season at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, on Saturday, September 10.

Although Vancouver has struggled early in the season, they have looked a more confident since the return to fitness of several key players in recent weeks.

In contrast, New York, a club that includes two proven world-class stars, solid professionals, and emerging MLS talent, could not find rhythm in the last third of the pitch in their midweek match with Colorado. No attackers could combine or produce any of the chemistry necessary in the attacking third.

Having a healthy squad will help the ‘Caps, but without strikers Atiba Harris and Long Tan, as well as midfielder John Thorrington, I believe a draw is all they will collect.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Vancouver 1, New York 1

Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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