Red Bull New York resumes Major League Soccer play against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, taking the field in a league match for the first time since May 23.
Prior to the club's three-and-a-half-week hiatus, New York played to a 1-1 home draw with Chivas USA after Juan Pablo Angel and Kenny Cooper traded second-half goals.
While the Red Bulls did not build upon their five-game winning streak, they are still unbeaten in six to climb to remain second in the Eastern Conference.
"We're all disappointed not to have gotten a win," Cooper said. "We've been on a great run of wins in the last five games, it would have been nice to make it six. Obviously a point is better than none, but we'd rather have three."
Cooper has been sensational for the Red Bulls this season as the goal against Chivas pulled him into a tie with Chris Wondolowski for the league lead with 11 tallies on the season.
"He's a hard, hard worker," Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said of Cooper. "Every game, every training session, and of course he has good guys around him who can feed him with the precise passes. I still think he has a lot to learn. I think he can improve."
Cooper's season thus far is made all the more impressive by the fact that he's had to compensate for the loss of Thierry Henry, who is questionable to return from injury on Sunday.
Henry and Cooper have combined to score 20 league goals to this point in the season, five more than a Fire team that has managed just 15.
Chicago was held scoreless in its last outing, a 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution on June 2. The club has suffered back-to-back losses to fall back into a tie with the Columbus Crew on 18 points apiece, nine points adrift of first place in the East.
"We've had a couple of tough losses and it's easy to get your head down," midfielder Logan Pause said. "It's my role, and it's important that we learn from it. We need to move forward and get ready for a big game [against New York] on [June] 17."
The Fire should have a good chance to reverse that poor run of form though. With a 3-1-2 record at Toyota Park, they have proven to be quite formidable at home.