RBNY heads to Toyota Park to face Chicago
Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York and the Chicago Fire will meet for the third time this season when the two sides do battle at Toyota Park on Sunday.
After playing to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park on March 23, the two Eastern Conference rivals participated in one of the season's more memorable encounters.
Chicago appeared dead and buried at Red Bull Arena on May 10 after goals from Tim Cahill and Bradley Wright-Phillips erased Harrison Shipp's early strike, but the Fire netted four goals in the span of 15 second-half minutes to jump out to a comfortable lead.
There was still some drama left in the match as Wright-Phillips hit for two more goals to bring the Red Bulls to within one, but the Fire managed to close out the match to collect all three points from the end-to-end affair.
It was a result that has encapsulated New York's season. The Red Bulls have made a habit of staging late comebacks, but also of leaking goals at the back on a regular basis.
New York's season has also been characterized by contrasting displays on either side of halftime, a trait that manifested itself in the club's last outing.
The Red Bulls were down a man and trailing the New England Revolution at halftime of their meeting at Red Bull Arena, but the hosts stormed back in the second period, producing a dominant display that saw beautiful goals from Dax McCarty and Wright-Phillips complete New York's comeback.
"The second half was perhaps - and this is saying a lot because of our success last year - the best half in my time as a head coach and we were down a man," said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. "It followed what I cannot remember a worse performance of a first half that I've ever seen - aside from my 6-year- old's team, to be quite honest, to be very blunt. I'm being blunt because I'm proud of them and in awe almost, in a small way, because of being a man down and bossing them in the second half like that."
The challenge for Petke has become getting his side to perform for the full 90 minutes.
"It looked like we were playing 11 men and they were playing with 10 men," said Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry. "That's the type of desire we need to have all the time. If you can win a game 1-0 down at halftime, playing with 10 men, you play with the same attitude with 11 players hopefully we can create more damage."
Chicago's campaign, meanwhile, has been littered with draws. The club enters the weekend with an MLS-high 13 ties from 22 games, leaving the club second from bottom in the Eastern Conference on 22 points.
The Fire have drawn three of their last four in MLS play, most recently squandering a lead to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park.
"If you go into the game, here we go, sort of deja vu," Fire head coach Frank Yallop said. "We've all sat here before and said the same thing. It's frustrating, maybe we didn't play great, we could have got something more out of the game but we didn't. Again, I'll say that we're not quite ready to get over the hurdle of winning games and dominating play, but it will come. We'll work on stuff and we'll try to build for the future, which is important."
Chicago is just three draws shy of the all-time league record, which was set in 2011 by the Fire.
08/08 23:10:34 ET