Harrison, NJ – Three of Major League Soccer's hottest strikers are set to take the pitch on Saturday when Red Bull New York hosts the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena.
Thierry Henry leads the league with seven goals on the season, all of which have been scored in New York's last three games. The Frenchman is followed closely by teammate Kenny Cooper and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, both on six goals.
Having netted a total of 13 goals in the last three matches, New York is in top gear at the moment. The Red Bulls became the first team in MLS history to win three straight games by three goals or more. Coming off of a 4-1 win at the Columbus Crew last weekend, head coach Hans Backe was full of praise for his side.
"I don't think any team can perform over 90 minutes the way we did the first 60," Backe said. "It's a massive away win once again, scoring four goals and our strikers scoring all of them. It's phenomenal."
Henry's sensational form yielded another MLS record. With two goals against the Crew, he became the first player in league history to claim three straight MLS Player of the Week awards. But despite the accolades, Henry is not resting on his laurels.
"I thought we played a great first half," the Frenchman said after the win over Columbus. "I don't think we played well at all in the second half. We invited them too much into our box. They should have and could have scored two or three goals to come back into the game, but they didn't. ... Overall, we are happy, but personally, I'm disappointed in the second half."
New York will be without two important pieces making up the spine of the team. Defender Wilman Conde is out with a groin strain while defensive midfielder Teemu Tainio is still recovering from a knee sprain.
Those two injuries could prove to be beneficial for Wondolowski and the Earthquakes, who are off to their best start in club history.
Wondolowski's bright start, along with a staunch defensive effort that has yielded just two goals, has helped the 'Quakes win four of their opening five matches.
"We're not getting carried away, obviously because it's a long season," Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop said. "But to get off to a good start, it's always important in any league, especially ours."
San Jose fell behind in its last outing, surrendering a goal to Sebastien Le Toux early in the second half. But three goals in the span of 10 minutes saw the 'Quakes battle back in a 3-1 defeat of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
"The guys are feeling confident," Yallop continued. "They didn't play like it in the first half, but what I liked about it was that they didn't really drop their heads and lose 1-0. We came back into it, and then we started to feel good about it and I thought we pushed on and deserved to win in the end."
Alan Gordon produced his first goal of the season in the win over Vancouver to go along with Wondolowski's brace, but he will miss the clash at Red Bull Arena with hamstring strain.
With a hamstring strain also sidelining striker Steven Lenhart, San Jose looks a bit depleted up front. Simon Dawkins is likely to deputize alongside Wondolowski.