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Red Bulls-FC Dallas Preview
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- The last time FC Dallas and New York took the field, the Red Bulls ended Dallas' 2011 season in the wild-card round of the MLS Cup.
After more than four months of waiting, Dallas gets a chance to avenge that loss Sunday when it hosts New York in the opener for both teams.
Joel Lindpere and Thierry Henry scored to guide the Red Bulls to a 2-0 win in the first round of the playoffs Oct. 26. That defeat dropped Dallas to 0-4-2 over the last six meetings, with its last victory in the series a 2-1 win July 4, 2009.
Making matters worse, Dallas - 15-13-7 last season - may be without David Ferreira, whose 2011 season ended after suffering a double fracture in his right ankle against Vancouver on April 23.
Ferreira, who Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said is one of the best midfielders in the league, seemed to aggravate the injury in the third preseason game and may not be able to play.
Coach Schellas Hyndman said Brek Shea, who has become a constant on the United States national team roster, likely will start if Ferreira is out.
"It's always a viable option if we don't have the players that we want," Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. "And the thing Brek brings is that he's a handful. He may not always make the right runs or the timing of the runs, but he's a complete handful and forces the opponents to stay back."
New York also will be short-handed, as Rafa Marquez will serve the first of a two-match suspension resulting from an incident in the Western Conference semifinals.
Marquez was involved in an altercation at the end of the Red Bulls' 1-0 loss in the first leg of the series against the Los Angeles Galaxy. He received a red card and an automatic one-game suspension - sitting out a 2-1 defeat to L.A. that eliminated New York from the postseason - plus an additional two games that carried over to 2012.
Defender Wilman Conde also will miss 2-3 weeks with a strained thigh he suffered in the preseason, though Backe is confident his team's depth is sufficient in the early part of the season.
"Comparing to last year, we have much better depth." Backe said. "These guys are closer to getting MLS minutes than we had last year."
Backe also will expect plenty from striker Kenny Cooper, who was acquired from Portland for a 2013 first-round pick in January. He netted three goals in the preseason and will provide another scoring threat along with Henry.
Cooper who scored 40 goals with Dallas from 2006-09, said his former team will be just as ready to play as the Red Bulls (11-10-16).
"Dallas is a great team," said Cooper, who had a team-high eight goals for the Timbers in 2011. "They have a lot of talented guys and I'm sure they're excited to get their season going, too."
The teams also met twice in the regular season last year. Henry scored in a 2-all draw July 23, and Luke Rodgers scored the lone goal in New York's 1-0 victory on Sept. 17.
Updated March 10, 2012