Preview: New York vs. Chivas USA
Thierry Henry has been a force during the New York Red Bulls' four-game unbeaten run in MLS play. Chivas USA's hopes of containing the star forward may be lessened due to a key absence.
Henry looks to stay hot while keeping New York rolling Sunday night when it visits Chivas, which will be without suspended midfielder Marcos Mondaini.
"We've had a few interesting challenges of character this year, and this will be another one," Chivas' Heath Pearce told the league's official website.
The Red Bulls (4-1-3) are 3-0-1 in league games since suffering their only loss to Philadelphia on April 9. Henry has three goals and four assists during that streak, factoring in all but two of the team's goals.
In New York's most recent MLS game, Henry scored in the fourth minute of a 1-all draw against Los Angeles last Saturday. It appeared he scored again Wednesday in the 34th minute of a friendly against Montreal, but Henry was ruled offside and the Red Bulls lost 1-0.
Mondaini won't be around to help slow Henry as he begins serving a four-game suspension for a controversial tackle in Chivas' 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake last Saturday. Mondaini took down Salt Lake's Javier Morales in the first half, leaving Morales with a fractured left ankle.
"It was a very unfortunate play and unfortunately I was involved in it," Mondaini said. "It wasn't my intention (to cause the injury). I'm aware we are colleagues. This is a sport and we have families and I would never have the intention to injure a colleague."
Mondaini immediately received a red card, putting Chivas (2-3-3) down two men for nearly 52 minutes. Andrew Boyens earned a pair of yellow cards earlier in the first half.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Chivas, which has been shut out four times this season to tie Colorado for the most in MLS.
Despite Chivas missing Mondaini and having one of the league's worst records, New York coach Hans Backe knows a victory won't come easy. Including the exhibition loss in Montreal, the Red Bulls will be playing their third game in nine days.
Luke Rodgers did not travel for the friendly in order to rest, but Backe said he will be in the lineup Sunday.
"It will be a tricky game because of the preparation this week," Backe told the Red Bulls' official website. "We haven't had the kind of preparation we want due to the Montreal game."
New York also hasn't had much success in road games against Chivas, going 0-2-3 since a 2-0 win in 2005. The Red Bulls had been 0-2-2 in the previous four meetings overall before a 1-0 win June 5.