Both clubs are expecting to debut new signings on Saturday, with Swiss DP Tranquillo Barnetta (you do pronounce the Ls in his first name, because it's Italian) available for Philadelphia and former England international Shaun Wright-Phillips potentially playing for the Red Bulls.
Here are a few numbers that caught my attention while preparing for the game:
- Influencers: Philadelphia with Vincent Nogueira: 6-6-4, +1 GD
Philadelphia w/o Vincent Nogueira: 0-6, -10 GD
Red Bulls when Matt Miazga starts: 8-2-3, +12 GD
Red Bulls when Matt Miazga doesn't start: 0-4-2, -6 GD
Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Nogueira is set to miss the game – and most of August – with a quad injury. Miazga is, as far as I know, expected to play.
- Set pieces: Red Bulls on set pieces, incl. PKs: 6-1
Philadelphia on set pieces, incl. PKs: 2-7
Red Bulls on set pieces, w/o PKs: 4-1
Philadelphia on set pieces, w/o PKs: 2-5
- Spot of trouble: The Red Bulls are just 4-for-9 on penalty kicks in June and July, including 0-3 on regulation penalty kicks in MLS play (Bradley Wright-Phillips 0-2, Sal Zizzo 0-1) and 3-for-5 in a shootout loss to Philadelphia in the Open Cup.
- Maybe they are lucky: All four penalty kicks taken against Philadelphia (3) and the Red Bulls (1) this year were taken by current members of D.C. United. The Eastern Conference leaders are 1-for-2 against Philadelphia and 0-for-1 against the Red Bulls, while newly acquired Álvaro Saborío scored against the Union while playing for Real Salt Lake.
- Man advantage: The Red Bulls have benefited from six red cards by opponents this year, going 4-0-1 in those games (Real Salt Lake received two on June 24). New York is 1-1 when receiving a red card. By contrast, Philadelphia has received four red cards and has gone 0-3-1 in those games, while failing to win either game (0-0-2) in which an opponent was ejected.
- Expect goals …: The two teams have not been shut out in a combined 19 consecutive MLS games (11 for Philadelphia, 8 for the Red Bulls).
- … but probably not early: Philadelphia has not allowed a goal this year in the first 15 minutes of a game.