Bradley Wright-Phillips led the Red Bulls attack all season long, netting an MLS record 27 goals.
[ PREVIEW: New England vs. New York ]
Unfortunately for New York, BWP will be unavailable for their conference finals match tomorrow against New England for yellow card accumulation.
Enter Tim Cahill.
Cahill scored twelve goals in 29 appearances for the Red Bulls last season, but has seen his role reduced with the emergence of Bradley Wright-Phillips as an elite goalscorer in the MLS.
With Wright-Phillips suspended, Cahill will likely be the replacement up top for Mike Petke’s squad as they prepare for the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals against the Revolution.
You can watch the match live tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN or online via Live Extra.
[ RELATED: BWP didn’t know yellow card accumulation rules ]
For Cahill to be successful against New England, he will need Thierry Henry to control the tempo of the match and spray balls wide to be crossed into the box, where Cahill has made a living heading in goals. Henry talked to the media following the Red Bulls’ practice and mentioned Cahill’s bravery in the box.
He’s a committed player. He will put his head where I won’t even put my foot in. Hopefully he’s going to do that tomorrow. His presence in and around the box can make anyone scared in any league in the world, so hopefully we can play well tomorrow. Not only him but us as a unit.
If he can be the hero tomorrow, so be it.”
Although Cahill doesn’t have the speed and agility of the shifty Wright-Phillips, he is a seasoned veteran who has consistently scored clutch goals for club and country. He has tallied 36 times in 76 appearances for Australia, including five goals over three World Cups.
New York needs goals desperately after dropping the first leg 2-1 at home. They must now beat New England by two goals to advance to the MLS Cup, where they would face either the Los Angeles Galaxy or Seattle Sounders.