HARRISON NJ - AUGUST 14: A general view of Red Bull Arena during the match between the New York Red Bulls and the Los Angeles Galaxy on August 14 2010 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
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Harrison, NJ (Sports Network) - Red Bull New York will be gunning for its first Major League Soccer Eastern Conference Championship in 10 years when it hosts the New England Revolution on Thursday night.
In both teams' 2010 regular season finale, a Red Bull win would give them the top spot in the Eastern Bracket of the MLS Cup playoffs, while the Revs (9-15-5) are just battling for pride as they are eliminated from contention in the second season.
Looking at the disparity between the two clubs' records, one would be inclined to think that New York (14-9-6) is the clear favorite in the match, but that is not the case.
New York hasn't defeated New England in its last 14 league fixtures, a streak that goes back to 2005, including a 3-2 loss earlier this season at Gillette Stadium. For whatever reason, the Revs have had the Red Bulls' number in recent years.
New York also could be looking ahead to the playoffs, maybe not putting all its efforts into Thursday's game, especially considering defenders Carlos Mendes and Mike Petke, and midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy are a yellow card away from missing the team's playoff opener next week.
Despite all that, the Red Bulls are a confident team.
"No game is easy in this league but we play at home now," New York assistant coach Richie Williams told mlssoccer.com. "We're confident we can go out there and win the Eastern Conference in this our last game."
Speaking of confidence, New England's Shalrie Joseph is riding high at the moment, scoring all four of the goals he has scored this season in the last five games. The Revs have also won their last two while suffering just one loss in their last five league fixtures.
They will have to find a way to play spoiler without the services of defender Kevin Alston, forwards Taylor Twellman and Zak Boggs, and goalkeepers Preston Burpo and Matt Reis, while forward Roberto Linck is doubtful, all with injuries.