Sporting Kansas City-Red Bulls Preview
Sporting Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen hasn’t been that busy in
goal over the last four games, but he’s stopped everything sent his
The New York Red Bulls couldn’t get anything past the 2012 MLS
goalkeeper of the year in the teams’ last two matchups.
Nielsen and Kansas City will try to extend the second-longest
shutout streak in franchise history when the Red Bulls look to
build on their first road win of the season Wednesday night.
Nielsen has recorded four straight clean sheets and hasn’t been
scored on since the 21st minute of a 2-1 loss at Toronto on March
9. He’s within one shutout of Tony Meola’s franchise record of
Kansas City’s 429-minute shutout streak is the second longest in
club history, trailing the 681-minute Meola-led stretch in 2000
which is the second best in MLS history.
Nielsen had to make only one save in his latest effort, a 1-0
win over D.C. on April 5. The MLS leader with 15 shutouts last
year, Nielsen has stopped three shots during Sporting’s 2-0-2
“(The defenders are) playing every roll of the ball, all of the
time,” he told the club’s official website. “They’re so focused for
90-plus minutes. Everyone on the field is taking pride in the way
they want to defend.”
Nielsen didn’t make any saves in a 1-all draw against the Red
Bulls on Aug. 26, but he stopped all eight shots in the clubs’
final two matchups in 2012 – a 2-0 Sporting victory Sept. 19 that
ended New York’s 16-match home unbeaten streak and a scoreless draw
The Red Bulls (2-3-2) couldn’t be happier to be back home after
playing their fifth road game of the season Saturday, a 2-0 win
over United. Thierry Henry, making his first start in nearly a
month due to a knee injury, scored his second goal while Jamison
Olave matched his career high with his third.
New York had netted four goals in its previous five games since
a 3-all draw with Portland in its opener.
“We played well to earn that,” coach Mike Petke told the Red
Bulls’ official website, “so that’s the confidence right there. …
That easily has to be transferred back to our home this Wednesday
night. No excuses at home – we have to play well.”
Fabian Espindola could see more playing time Wednesday. The
Argentine, who scored twice in the season opener, was a second-half
substitute Saturday after missing two games with a hamstring
New York’s Luis Robles, tied for second in MLS with two
shutouts, faced one shot – a header by Kei Kamara in the 86th
minute – in his only start against Sporting KC on Oct. 20. That tie
helped the Red Bulls clinch their third consecutive playoff berth,
and dropped Kansas City’s road record in this series to 4-10-8.