New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke didn't mince any words after what he called an "embarrassing day" for his club against one of the league's worst teams.
The Red Bulls' opportunity to bounce back comes against their archrival - an opponent that is the worst club in MLS and the only one that is winless on the road.
New York will try to avoid extending its winless run to four games Saturday night when D.C. United visit Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls (11-9-6) fell 3-2 at Chivas USA on Sunday. The Western Conference's worst team had not scored more than once in its previous 16 games.
"I apologize to everybody watching out there, I apologize for that loss," Petke said. "We lost to one of the worst teams in the league."
The Red Bulls got their attack going with goals by Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty after not scoring in a draw and a loss over their previous two games. Their star-studded team that features Cahill, Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola was outshot 16-12 overall by the league's third lowest-scoring team.
"We had many chances, we didn't capitalize on them, we made some mistakes and we had no creativity in the second half," Petke said. "We looked like we were confused out there."
New York is tied for second place in the crowded East standings as it readies for rival D.C., which is used to frustration during an awful season in which it has amassed an MLS-low 14 points.
United (3-17-5) drew lowly Toronto FC 1-1 last Saturday at home, and the club held a team meeting afterward.
"I don't mind that stuff. I think everybody knows me well enough that I don't mind a good argument or some emotion spilling over," coach Ben Olsen told United's official website. "In a season like this, that's normal."
D.C. is 0-9-3 on the road in MLS play, although it has posted four shutouts in going 2-1-2 all-time at Red Bull Arena, including a scoreless draw March 16.
New York won 2-0 at RFK Stadium on April 13 behind goals from Henry and Jamison Olave in the last meeting, and will capture the Atlantic Cup if Saturday's result is no worse than a one-goal defeat - although the Red Bulls know a victory is necessary given the playoff picture.
"It's more than a supporters thing," McCarty said told the Red Bulls' official website. "The players know exactly what's at stake here. It might not be as big of a trophy as the Supporters' Shield or MLS Cup, but it's a trophy nonetheless and it's something that the supporters can take pride in, so the players take a lot of pride in it as well."
Olave (quad), Roy Miller (Achilles) and Connor Lade (knee) are all questionable for New York.
Former league MVP Dwayne De Rosario, also a former New York forward, scored his third goal last weekend for United, who have scored a league-low 15.
Henry assisted on both New York goals last weekend but has gone five straight games without scoring.
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