Harrison, NJ – Red Bull New York will try to snap a three- game winless streak on Wednesday when the club welcomes the Chicago Fire to Red Bull Arena.
The two sides are separated by just one point in the Eastern Conference, but at the moment, they are headed in opposite directions.
Chicago has won four of its last six games and has already matched its win total from last season with nine victories thus far.
But head coach Frank Klopas is not satisfied with just matching last season’s win total, and he feels his side has plenty more left to accomplish.
« I think it is important that we have had a good start to the season, » Klopas said. « We have a long way to go and we have to keep going. It’s one win. You enjoy this one but we have to look and see how we can get better as a team. Everyone knows what the goal is and that’s what we’re shooting for. We’re not happy with nine wins. It’s about game after game after game. You can’t get too high or too low after games. We have a difficult match in New York and then we have to keep going. We have to reach our goal in the end. »
New York’s 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC over the weekend has left the club with two points from its last three games and dropped the team four points back of Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City.
Despite getting just a point from the game, there were positives, including the debut of forward Sebastien Le Toux, who netted a goal 24 minutes into his first New York match.
Le Toux was acquired from Vancouver last week and forms a potent attacking trio along with Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper.
And although it was evident at times that the three were playing together for the first time, there were still flashes of what these three talented attackers are capable of.
Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette was also playing in his first match for New York after joining the team from Los Angeles. He came up with a pair of big saves in the first half and acknowledged that it will take a little time to get settled.
« It’s tough when you come into a new environment, there’s no way around it, » Gaudette said. « It wasn’t the easiest situation to come in and kind of just jump in there. The guys really don’t know me, don’t know my style, don’t know much about anything [about me]. It was a little interesting. »
The result wasn’t bad for New York considering a few new additions were made days before the game, but Hans Backe will hope his side can return to the win column against a Chicago team that will be trying to move into second place with a win.
The Fire secured a 1-0 victory over Vancouver on Saturday in a game that saw the team play the final 20 minutes with 10 men, but still manage to hold out for the win.
« It’s a plus to get shutouts, but the first thing is getting three points… being able to do both, given the fact we had 10 men, shows that we have character as a team, and we were able to fight, » said goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who has kept clean sheets in three of his last four games. « Those 10 guys in front of me battled for 90 minutes and we were able to come away with the result. »
Last season, Chicago wouldn’t have been able to find a way to hold on for three points. But this is clearly a Fire team that expects more this year.