D.C. United let out a collective sigh of relief after ending a 15-match winless run last weekend.
As winners of the Supporters' Shield a season ago, the New York Red Bulls have a five-match winless streak to start 2014 that may feel as long to them.
D.C. (1-2-1) won 2-0 at home over New England last Saturday, getting an own goal before Chris Rolfe scored in second-half stoppage time. United were 0-11-4 in their previous 15 games and hadn't won since beating Montreal on Aug. 3.
Rolfe made his club debut after being acquired April 2 from Chicago.
"To be honest, just finally winning for these guys, who have been working hard and it's a good group of guys, for us to win that's the best feeling," Rolfe said. "Of course for me to be able to get a goal, which will help my confidence, and hopefully it will help their belief in me and what I can do to help the team."
New York (0-1-4) played to its fourth consecutive draw that same day, 2-2 at Montreal. Jonny Steele and Peguy Luyindula had its goals.
"We're still unbeaten in four games, we seem to like ties, but it's early and still the beginning of the season," coach Mike Petke told the Red Bulls' official website.
New York has matched its worst start since beginning 2006 at 0-1-5.
Henry, who has one goal and a team-high 11 shots despite missing two games, did not play since the match was on artificial turf while Cahill was out with a hamstring injury suffered in a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on March 30. Petke indicated that Cahill may be OK to come off the bench.
This contest could have extra meaning for forward Fabian Espindola, in his first year with D.C. after he finished third on New York with nine goals a season ago. Espindola was selected by United in the offseason re-entry draft.
While Espindola has one goal, his partner at forward is still searching for his first. Eddie Johnson, acquired from Seattle in the offseason in one of the league's biggest deals, has been fairly quiet with eight overall shots - 33 players have at least 10.
"I'm actually encouraged by the partnership that they are forming up top," coach Ben Olsen said. "I think it's pretty good. They are starting to understand each other. The timing, sequences and spacing are getting much better."
United's attack will look to take advantage of a New York back line that is missing Richard Eckersley due to an ankle injury. Kosuke Kimura took his place at right back last weekend.
"Mike told us all the time he'll be rotating people, so this is my turn. I just take it," Kimura told the league's official website. "When (Eckersley) comes back and if I'm tired, maybe Mike says to put him out there. I don't mind. That's how it is."
D.C. will be without midfielder Lewis Neal, who has been suspended for dangerous play last weekend.
New York went 2-0-1 in last year's season series to capture the Atlantic Cup.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Red Bulls
- Tim Cahill
- D.C. United
- Chris Rolfe