Red Bulls-Earthquakes Preview
Thierry Henry felt travel issues were partly responsible for the New York Red Bulls settling for a tie in their season opener last weekend.
The star forward isn't likely to be happy this week, either.
The Red Bulls will try to put another travel ordeal behind them as they attempt to beat the injury-riddled San Jose Earthquakes on the road for the first time since 2003 on Sunday night.
New York seemed on its way to a season-opening victory last Sunday, but it squandered a two-goal second-half lead and settled for a 3-3 draw at Portland in its first game under coach Mike Petke. Henry attributed the late-game collapse to travel delays.
"What is frustrating is the way we came here," he said. "We didn't prepare anything because we were at the airport on Friday (and) on Saturday, too, trying to come here. We did eventually but we didn't prepare the game how we should've prepared the game, and you could see the last 30 minutes, everyone ran out of steam."
The Red Bulls are faced with similar issues after their flight to San Jose on Friday was canceled due to snow, forcing them to take a charter Saturday.
"Strong sense of Deja Vu here.. Oh no wait, this is actually happening again! Flight to San Jose canceled tonight, chartering tomorrow," midfielder Dax McCarty said via his Twitter account.
Trips to San Jose rarely go well for New York. The Red Bulls are 2-11-3 all-time on the road against the Earthquakes during the regular season, going 0-4-3 in the past seven visits since a victory on Oct. 5, 2003.
Henry is making his first appearance in San Jose. He has two goals and two assists in four home meetings with the Earthquakes, with the Red Bulls going 2-1-1.
Fabian Espindola scored two goals in his New York debut last weekend. The forward spent the last six seasons with Real Salt Lake, managing only one goal in 10 meetings with the Earthquakes and none in the past six.
San Jose is also trying to rebound from a disappointing season opener after falling 2-0 to visiting Salt Lake last Sunday. The Earthquakes won the Supporters' Shield last season while going 10-2-6 at home, but they're missing forwards Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon, midfielder Marvin Chavez and defenders Steven Beitashour and Dan Gargan due to injuries.
Now, fill-in forward Mike Fucito is dealing with a hamstring strain suffered in the opener.
The injuries may increase the pressure on Chris Wondolowski, who led the league with 27 goals last season but put just one of his seven shots on target last week. He has four goals in his last nine games against New York.
"(Wondolowski) sets his standards exceptionally high, and I think we've come to know him as a guy who really, every time he steps on the field, that he's going to make magic happen and really impact the game," defender Jason Hernandez told the official MLS website. "He puts a lot of pressure on himself to get on the scoreboard and carry us. It's worked so well so far, so we're not going to change that formula."