The New York Red Bulls traded 19-year-old forward Juan Agudelo to Chivas USA last week, but they’ll only be welcoming back a former player who is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals Wednesday night.
They also may have Thierry Henry back in their own lineup.
The French superstar could provide a huge boost as the Red Bulls try to set a club record with a sixth straight victory when they host Juan Pablo Angel and Chivas.
New York (8-3-1) dealt Agudelo to Chivas on Thursday in exchange for defender Heath Pearce and allocation money because the teenager was frustrated by a lack of playing time.
Agudelo started in his debut for Chivas (4-6-1) on Saturday, playing 76 minutes in a 1-0 win over archrival Los Angeles. He won’t be making the trip back to Red Bull Arena, though, since he has joined the United States national team this week in preparation for its game against Scotland.
With Agudelo unavailable, the veteran Angel could take his place in the lineup. Angel scored 61 goals including postseason with New York from 2007-10, and will be facing his former team on the road for the first time.
Pearce played all 90 minutes in his Red Bulls debut Saturday, a 2-1 victory at Montreal. He is trying to downplay the significance of facing Chivas.
“It’ll be great to see some of those guys, because I’ve got some dear friends on that team,” Pearce told the Red Bulls’ official website. “But for the most part, it’s just another game and we need to get three points and do it in an entertaining fashion.”
Henry may make things more exciting after missing the last four games with a strained right hamstring. He is now third in the league with nine goals, with teammate Kenny Cooper in second with 10.
Every victory in New York’s streak has been by one goal, with Cooper converting a penalty kick and Dane Richards scoring Saturday. The Red Bulls rallied from a goal down and prevailed despite playing with 10 men for the final 32 minutes after midfielder Victor Palsson was sent off for a second yellow card.
“It’s five in a row now with a quite inexperienced team,” coach Hans Backe said. “I mean, you can’t demand anything else. It’s almost shocking to pick up wins like that.”
Chivas snapped an 0-3-1 skid with Saturday’s victory - its first since April 14. Jose Correa scored in his second straight game, putting in a penalty kick.
“It was a very satisfying win in a number of ways, not just winning, but certainly from which way that they did it and the effort that they put in,” coach Robin Fraser said.
Chivas debuted defender Danny Califf, obtained as a replacement for Pearce last Thursday from Philadelphia in exchange for midfielder Michael Lahoud and allocation money. Califf played the entire game.
The Red Bulls are 1-2-1 over the last two years against Chivas under Backe.
“It’s a little bit annoying that we have not really performed well against Chivas,” Backe said. “I hope definitely now that should be a motivation for our players.”