The New York Red Bulls will try for a historic achievement Wednesday night when they host Chivas USA at Red Bull Arena (7 p.m. ET, MSG+). The Red Bulls will be aiming for their sixth consecutive victory, which would be a franchise record.
New York (8-3-1, 25 points) leads the Eastern Conference of the MLS and has accomplished the franchise record-tying winning streak despite playing without star striker Thierry Henry (hamstring) and several other key veterans. In their last match the Red Bulls defeated the Montreal Impact, 2-1, scoring the game-winning goal despite playing down a man after Victor Pallson was red-carded early in the second half.
It's five in a row now, with a quite inexperienced team. You can't demand anything else," said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. "It's almost shocking to pick up wins like that. But the way they work, the way they get their shape quick, defending against set plays, defending in open play, the build-up, that's the key to winning in this league."
The Red Bulls should get some help Wednesday night. Henry is listed as probable, although the wet weather might cause Backe to hold him back. Defender Wilman Conde (groin) is expected to play, adding a veteran presence to a defense already bolstered against Montreal by the trade last week for Heath Pearce. Rafa Marquez (achilles) will not play.
"Almost every game, the roster has got down at the last minute. Some good players are coming back for the Wednesday game and we need to add something to our attacking game," Backe said. "This can't go on forever, with good defending and looking for breaks and counters. It's phenomenal for the future, we know now that these guys are ready for the MLS."
The game will mark the return of Juan Agudelo, traded by the Red Bulls last week in exchange for Pearce, to Red Bull Arena. Chivas is 4-6-1 for 13 points in the Western Conference.
U.S. Open Cup
The Red Bulls will travel to Blackbaud Stadium to face USL PRO squad the Charleston Battery on May 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Third Round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The match-up was set after the Battery defeated PDL side Reading United AC, 2-1, at Blackbaud Stadium Tuesday night in a second-round showdown.