New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact: One Game at a Time
Nov 6, 2016; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Royer (77) and forward Mike Grella (13) retrieves the ball after a goal during the second half against the Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena. Montreal won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls have been resilient this season against Eastern Conference teams, but how will they hold out in their first Western Conference game in over two months?

The New York Red Bulls have seen six regular season games since May 14 when RBNY played the LA Galaxy. All were against Eastern Conference teams. Including US Open Cup play, RBNY have seen nine Eastern Conference opponents in two months.

As for the West, San Jose will be their first Western Conference matchup since that LA Galaxy meeting. Unfortunately, the meeting resulted in a 3-1 loss for RBNY.

Here’s how RBNY stack up against Eastern and Western Conference teams this season:

  • East: 7W-1D-4L (58% win)
  • West: 1W-1D-4L (16% win)

RBNY have fared well against Eastern opponents in the 2017 season. As for Western opponents, RBNY lack in strength. A 58% Eastern opponent win percentage vs a 16% Western opponent win percentage is a sizable difference.

Many have claimed that the Eastern Conference is stronger this year as opposed to the Western Conference. This indeed has support. The top six teams in the East average a 1.69 points per game. The West’s top six average 1.48.

This may lead to the conclusion that RBNY should be more successful against a weaker Western side. In fact, RBNY does not follow this trend. Even though, if RBNY were in the Western Conference, in points, they would sit in fifth place. Well above the red line.

Unfortunately, for RBNY they have done poorly against Western teams this season. two of their losses, Seattle and LA, have been against Western teams below the red line. While a draw to Salt Lake, two losses against Houston and Sporting KC, and a win against Colorado sum up their Western play.

A win against San Jose will certainly make a statement to the league. A recent win against New England in MLS play was complemented by another win against New England in the US Open Cup. Multiple wins against various Eastern Conference opponents in the domestic tournament has received attention from the big guns of the league. However, RBNY need to strengthen their Western play if they are to enter a playoff run in 2017.

San Jose currently sits in fifth in the West. They recently won against LA and Real Salt Lake. In their most recent game on July 4th, they lost against Atlanta, 4-2.

Both RBNY and San Jose have 26 points. Because San Jose played one more game, their points per game average is lower.

Wednesday’s game vs San Jose will certainly be a pivotal point in the season. If RBNY want to make a playoff push they will need to defeat similar caliber teams, even in the West.

Who will prevail the Western Conference San Jose Earthquakes or Eastern Conference New York Red Bulls?

Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.