Fire-Red Bulls Preview


Frustrations are starting to grow for the Chicago Fire, the only winless club in MLS.

It took a while for the New York Red Bulls to pick up their first victory, but it's been nearly a month since they've come up short.

The visiting Fire try to snap the Red Bulls' four-game unbeaten streak as these Eastern Conference foes meet Saturday night.

Off to the worst start in team history, Chicago (0-2-6) can't seem to catch a break. After tying an MLS record with six consecutive draws, the Fire appeared headed for a victory before coming undone in last Saturday's 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake.

Mike Magee and Juan Anangono scored to give Chicago an early 2-0 lead, but it allowed two of RSL's three unanswered goals in a three-minute span of stoppage time.

"I don't think we really wanted to win that game because it didn't show," coach Frank Yallop told the league's official website. "I thought we were going somewhere but now we've had a total collapse in a game we should have won.

"We should see that game out, even at 2-1. How about 2-2? Not a 3-2 loss, you just can't do that. I've got to figure out who's going to be punching and fighting the whole season and the whole 90 minutes. We've got to see that game through. No matter what they do, we've got to be man enough to make sure we don't concede any goals, and we didn't."

While the Fire's 1.50 goals per game is tied for the best mark in the East, their 1.75 goals allowed is tied for the worst.

"We have to look at the mistakes we made and move on. ... It's a mental challenge; we can't go in the negative direction," midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. "The guys have to keep a positive attitude, guys have to honestly assess what they are doing personally to a man, go home and figure out how they are going to work harder and push themselves to have a positive attitude and push on."

The Fire could have trouble getting on track against the surging Red Bulls (3-2-5). New York has outscored opponents 8-2 during a 3-0-1 stretch since falling 1-0 at D.C. on April 12.

Thierry Henry assisted on Bradley Wright-Phillips' goal in the 71st minute as the Red Bulls escaped with a 1-0 road victory over FC Dallas on Sunday.

"It's one of those things when you are scoring you get the luck of the green," said Wright-Phillips, who has scored five of his team-leading six goals in the last three games. ''I'm just trying to get in the right spot and focus and hit my target."

Luis Robles made three saves - one on a penalty kick - in posting his second shutout in three matches.

"He's carrying that confidence from middle-to-end of last year and carrying it right into the preseason this year and right into the beginning (of the regular season)," coach Mike Petke said. "A confident goalkeeper is key for us, and for any team, and right now we have a confident goalkeeper."

The Red Bulls have been outscored 23-11 during an 0-7-5 stretch in Chicago, but are 3-1-1 in the last five meetings at home. New York has outscored foes 8-3 in going 2-0-2 at Red Bull Arena.