Chivas USA-Red Bulls Preview

The Associated PressMarch 29, 2014

The New York Red Bulls led MLS in victories a season ago but didn't have a win in their first four matches.

They'll try to avoid another four-match winless streak to begin 2014 Sunday as they host Chivas USA, a club they've beaten once in the last nine meetings.

New York (0-2-1) was more pleased with Sunday's 1-1 draw at Chicago than it was with its first two games. The Red Bulls have produced one goal in each of their first three, but coach Mike Petke isn't yet concerned with a lack of scoring.

"We have 31 games left," Petke told the club's official website. "You know, sometimes things take time to jell and click and as of now, like I said, it needs to continue to improve and it has.

"You know, from the first game, to the second game, particularly to the third game, and it's just about getting into a rhythm and I have confidence these guys are doing that. No, there's no concern at all, not at all."

After falling behind to Chicago in the sixth minute, the Red Bulls got a 21st-minute goal from Dax McCarty to avoid a second road defeat.

"I feel like we're not satisfied with just a point, but I think we're satisfied with our performance," McCarty said. "It's a lot better than it was the first two games."

Chivas (1-1-1) is likely thinking the opposite. After a promising start with four points in two home matches to begin the season, Chivas fell 3-1 to Dallas on Saturday.

Two of the goals it conceded came on set pieces, and coach Wilmer Cabrera said his team got what it deserved.

"When you make those mistakes on set pieces and concentration, you don't deserve (points)," Cabrera said. "You have to get punished in order for us to improve because we've been working - set pieces - we've been working on that, and today we lost concentration and then we got punished."

After falling behind 2-0 in the 78th minute, Chivas' Erick Torres scored his third goal of the season in the 81st. The 21-year-old striker has scored in each game after netting seven goals in 15 matches a season ago.

Torres' first two-goal game in MLS came last season in a 3-2 home win over the Red Bulls on Aug. 25, a result that gave Chivas a 4-1-4 mark in its last nine against New York.

The Red Bulls, however, have gone 7-0-3 in their last 10 regular-season home matches, and they'll face a Chivas club that's 0-13-3 in its past 16 on the road.

To snap that skid, Cabrera thinks his team will have to dictate play, which could be made easier with the return of center midfielder Agustin Pelletieri. The first-year MLS player missed the Dallas match due to a red card issued March 16 against Vancouver.

"We have to be able to impose our game over theirs," Cabrera said. "If we don't do that they are always going to have possession, they are always going to be better than us, and we are going to be chasing and struggling during the game."