Bridgeview, IL – The Chicago Fire will try to extend a run of success against Red Bull New York at Toyota Park on Sunday, and in the process, claim its first victory of the season.
The Fire has gotten off to a poor start so far, earning just one point from four games and being outscored 9-1.
Chicago didn't score its first goal of the campaign until a 4-1 defeat against Chivas USA in its fourth match of the year, snapping a 334-minute goalless drought.
But despite its early-season futility, the Fire will be hoping that a visit from New York will help the club get on track and into the win column for the first time this season.
In nine all-time meetings between the two sides at Toyota Park, Chicago is 6-0-3 against the Red Bulls, a streak that head coach Frank Klopas hopes will continue.
In 2011, Klopas moved from the front office to the sideline after previous head coach Carlos de los Cobos won just one of his first 11 games that season.
Klopas managed to turn things around that year and the Fire fell just short of reaching the playoffs, giving Chicago president Javier Leon plenty of confidence in his coach.
"I strongly believe in having a coach -- and I think the ownership feels that way too -- that has so much invested in the city," Leon said. "Believe me, nobody feels worse than Frank in terms of the results thus far. He has so much invested in the city, and he has so much invested in the team, being part of the team, having the history that he had. From that standpoint, clearly he's focused on making the right adjustments in order to get us on the right path."
Mike Petke had to wait until his fifth game to claim his first win as New York head coach, a 2-1 home victory against the Philadelphia Union last weekend.
Thierry Henry scored the winning goal in the 81st minute, and Petke felt that the win has been coming for the past few weeks.
"This was three weeks in the making," Petke said. "They earned it. They earned it through their play the last couple of weeks, they earned it through their play Saturday and it's just something to build on."
Petke will be hoping to continue that success against a struggling Fire team, but he is also wary of Chicago's slow start.
"I think they're a sleeping giant in a way," Petke said of Chicago. "It's a very dangerous team to play. A team with quality, a team that has not gotten the results that perhaps they deserved at times. They're a very dangerous team and we're not taking them lightly at all."