Foxborough, MA – Red Bull New York owes something of a debt of gratitude to the New England Revolution.
New York claimed a resounding 4-1 victory when the two sides met at Red Bull Arena on April 20. The Red Bulls have not lost since, winning three more matches to climb into a tie with the Houston Dynamo for first place in the Eastern Conference.
But New York's clash with the Revs in New England on Saturday will have a daunting feeling for the Red Bulls.
The club is 4-18-6 all-time in road matches against the Revs and it has not won at Gillette Stadium since June 29, 2002.
The likelihood of New York ending its long drought in Foxborough will become a bit slimmer should Thierry Henry not feature. The French striker has a penchant for failing to suit up when his side hits the road to face a team that plays on an artificial surface. Henry has often faced criticism for that hesitation, but are his quips really hurting his team for this particular encounter?
After a four-game winning run and a three-game homestand looming, surely the Red Bulls can afford a "throw-away" match, but the forward line looks a bit more depleted after Peguy Luyindula left Wednesday's 2-1 defeat of the Montreal Impact with a first-half injury.
That is not good news for a clash against a team tied for the best defensive record in the Eastern Conference.
But even while New England's eight goals against puts the club level with the Columbus Crew for fewest goals conceded among the 10 teams in the East, the Revs are coming off of a 2-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake.
The defeat was made all the more disappointing by the squandered chance to get an equalizer late in the contest as Saer Sene had his penalty kick stopped by Nick Rimando.
Revs head coach Jay Heaps offered some insight into the penalty kick selection process, which essentially was negated when first-choice taker Lee Nguyen was subbed off to prevent the midfielder from picking up a second caution.
"Lee Nguyen is our penalty kick taker," said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. "We have contests and things like that and the players work on it. So in terms of that, Saer was taker last year. He is coming back to form and he has taken a few, obviously, in training. That's a bad one. Not a bad penalty kick, it's a bad spot to be in the 90th minute. It would have been good to have Lee in that spot."
Due to the short turnover from Wednesday's loss to RSL, New England midfielder Ryan Guy revealed that there are likely to be a couple of changes to the starting lineup to provide rest to those in need.
"Like you said there will probably be some changes," Guy said. "There are going to be some tired legs. I don't know if there were any injuries, we might've been lucky tonight but, more than anything it's another chance for us to get three points which we desperately need now."