Harrison, NJ (Sports Network) - The odds appear to be stacked in Red Bull New
York's favor as the club gears up for its Eastern Conference semifinal second
leg against D.C. United on Wednesday.
D.C. finished above New York in the regular season, but Hurricane Sandy forced
Major League Soccer to switch the location of the home ties in the series.
Should the return match finish level like the 1-1 draw in the first leg at RFK
Stadium on Saturday, then the Red Bulls would have the advantage of playing at
Red Bull Arena in extra time.
To make matters worse for D.C. United, head coach Ben Olsen faces a selection
headache regarding Andy Najar's replacement. The Honduran was shown a red card
for hurling the ball at referee Jair Marrufo in frustration, leaving the 19-
year-old out for the second leg.
"He's a young kid, he made a young mistake," Olsen told MLSsoccer.com. "I
thought [referee Jair Marrufo] let it boil up a little bit with some tough
calls against us. That's no excuse to react that way. But we'll adjust. It's
what we've been doing all year."
The candidates to replace Najar are Daniel Woolard and Robbie Russell. Woolard
hasn't played since August 4 when he suffered a concussion against the
Columbus Crew, while Russell has managed just 12 minutes since recovering from
surgery for plantar fasciitis.
New York is not without a key absence either.
Rafa Marquez has not been ruled out, but he looks likely to miss the return
leg after leaving the series opener at halftime with tightness in his calf, a
lingering injury that has limited the Mexican's minutes this season.
"He was very frustrated with the calf," head coach Hans Backe told
MLSsoccer.com. "He has been picking up that calf a number of times this season
and going into the playoffs, he played very well. Picking up late in the first
half, he was just upset over that."
The first leg brought an uninspiring performance from the Red Bulls, who
conceded an own goal from Roy Miller before getting bailed out of a loss by
Bill Hamid's gaffe moments later.
Marquez stressed after the match that the Red Bulls needed an attitude
adjustment in order to make a deep run in the postseason, an assertion that
"When you go into playoffs, they are different games," explained Backe. "It
changes. It becomes a different game if you talk about the defending, the
pressing game, tackles, and things like that.
"Everyone has to be ready to do the dirty work for 90 minutes and after this
game, everyone should be aware of it, the price you have to pay to win the
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