Harrison, NJ – The New York Red Bulls will go for their first victory of the season on Saturday when the club takes on rivals Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena.
New York has been a bit unlucky not to have claimed three points through four matches this season. The Red Bulls played well enough to win against San Jose in Week 2, and certainly against D.C. United the following week, but were unable to come away with a victory.
New York took a 1-0 lead against San Jose on March 10 through an Eric Alexander goal, but Adam Jahn equalized late and Chris Wondolowski finished it with a penalty kick to give the 'Quakes a 2-1 win.
Six days later, New York thoroughly dominated play against D.C., but United goalkeeper Bill Hamid stole the show, as well as a point for his team in a 0-0 draw.
Last time out, New York suffered a 1-0 setback against the white-hot Montreal Impact courtesy of a 13th-minute tally from Marco Di Vaio.
New York could be without two key offensive weapons on Saturday as Thierry Henry missed the Montreal match with a left MCL sprain, while Fabian Espindola is also questionable with a left hamstring problem.
Henry is day-to-day and the club is hesitant to rush its captain back before he is 100 percent healthy.
"I'm a huge risk taker," Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. "With someone's health on my team, I'm not as much of a risk taker. All I can do, the best I can do is talk to my medical staff, which I trust very much, talk to the player and make the best decision that I fee is for, first and foremost, the player and his health, and very close behind, the club."
If both players are unable to go, offensive duties will fall to former PSG man Peguy Luyindula, who was acquired on March 19.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-0 friendly win over Mexican side Pumas UNAM while having off from MLS competition.
The Union have won two straight league matches, including a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in sloppy conditions on March 16.
"When you get weather like that, with the rain and the hail before the game, it kind of throws [traditional] soccer out of the window," said defender Sheanon Williams. "We tried as best as we could to get it down and play. Sometimes, that failed and that's when the battles happened. I think we stepped up well to the occasion today and we did what we needed to do."
Jack McInerney has become the Union's go-to scorer overt the past two weeks with match winners in each of the club's last two league games and will look for a goal in his third consecutive match on Saturday.
Philadelphia also shuffled its roster during the week, finalizing a deal to send mercurial forward Freddy Adu to Brazilian club Bahia in exchange for Brazilian international Kleberson.
It is unclear whether Kleberson will suit up for the Union against New York on Saturday, as receipt of his United States visa and International Transfer Certificate have not yet been confirmed.
In seven all-time meetings between the clubs, New York holds a comfortable 5-2 advantage, including a three-match sweep of Philadelphia last season.