Preview: NY Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire

Both head coaches make their MLS debuts at Red Bull Arena

The basics

Chicago
(0-0-0) vs. New York (0-0-0) at Red Bull Arena, Harrison

All-time
record: Chicago holds a 20-10-6 all-time regular season record against New York.

TV info

7:00
p.m. E.S.T. on ESPN & ESPN Deportes

What's at stake?

New
York can continue the momentum of last weekend’s 3-1 win over Brazilian club
Santos with a solid effort against Chicago. New York could take a big step in
eradicating the sour taste of a last place finish in 2009 with a win over the
Fire. Carlos de los Cobos makes his debut as Fire head coach with several new
faces.

Last meeting

If
the Red Bulls cringe a bit at the fact that their team is hosting the Fire,
forgive them. Last May, New York completely outclassed Chicago at Giants
Stadium, holding more possession, creating more chances, amassing more corners
and registering a 2:1 advantage on shots on goal. Yet the Red Bulls still
managed to find a way to lose 1-0. The Red Bulls would go on to lose 10 of
their next 11 in league play.

Remember when?

It
was a midweek cup final at Giants Stadium on October 15, 2003. Chicago got a 68
th
minute goal from forward Damani Ralph to defeat the MetroStars (now the Red
Bulls) and earn its third Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title in six years. With its
conquest in East Rutherford, N.J., the Fire became the first MLS team to win
the cup final on the road. Ralph was in training with the Red Bulls during the
offseason in a comeback attempt from serious injury. The Red Bulls did not sign
him.

Heroes & Villains ...

Kandji/Angel vs. C.J. Brown
& Co.:
Imposing play has often frustrated the Red Bulls forwards and
Chicago’s defenders are not afraid to be physical when need be. How Brown
manages to contain, and when need be, mix it up with Angel, promises to be an
entertaining affair to watch. Angel is returning to full health after suffering
a right knee injury in a pre-season match against Toronto. Thursday was his
first full practice with the team in several weeks.

John-McBride pairing makes MLS
debut:
On the flip side, the Red Bulls centerbacks will be tested by the
former Fulham strike partnership of Collins John and Brian McBride. The duo
combined well together in England, with John netting 11 goals in 2005-2006. The
Red Bulls back line features a rookie, Tim Ream, who said that he is honored to
play against fellow St. Louis University grad McBride, but that this time last
year, “I thought I’d be watching the MLS opener on a bench somewhere and not
actually being in it.”

Stat that makes you go, “Hmm …”

New
York hasn’t beaten Chicago in their last five match-ups against their Eastern
Conference foe, having been outscored 13-3 over the stretch. The Red Bulls last
win against the Fire came on September 1, 2007 at New York.

He said it

“I don’t try to look back – I’m excited about
this year. There are a lot of positives this year.” New York Red Bulls’ forward
Juan Pablo Angel on closing the chapter on last season and opening 2010.