BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – The New York Red Bulls are in desperate need of a victory after failing to get one over their last five MLS matches.
There's an increased sense of urgency heading into Saturday night's home matchup against a Chicago Fire squad with a league-low two victories.
These teams have posted the most draws in MLS, with 13 for Chicago and 12 for New York. It's been particularly frustrating for the Red Bulls, who are 0-3-2 in their last five and 2-5-10 in their past 17.
"I don't know what to say anymore. We got to win," superstar striker Thierry Henry told the Red Bulls' official website. "We have six games remaining at home and now we need to win as much as we can."
New York (6-6-12) returned to MLS play with a dismal performance last Saturday in a 3-0 road loss to Real Salt Lake. It was a far different effort from the previous weekend when the Red Bulls traveled to London and beat French club Paris Saint-Germain and drew with English powerhouse Arsenal to win the Emirates Cup tournament.
Those good results against glamorous European teams meant nothing in Utah, where the Red Bulls managed to put one shot on target.
"We just need to do it now," coach Hans Backe said. "We're giving away Christmas presents in the Eastern Conference. Our future is still with us."
Bouna Coundoul is expected to start in goal with Frank Rost out with a quadriceps tear. Backe indicated that it is unlikely that defender Jan Gunnar Solli will see action due to a quad strain.
Chicago (2-7-13) is 0-3-5 in its last eight matches, falling 4-2 at expansion Vancouver on Sunday. The Fire dropped to 1-5-6 on the road.
"I felt like last game we took a step back from previous games," forward Patrick Nyarko said. "We just need to rekindle our identity and the way we can play to the best of our abilities. We need to look at ourselves and say (the) last game wasn't good enough."
These teams played to a 1-all draw at Chicago on June 26 as Joel Lindpere scored for the Red Bulls and Marco Pappa equalized for the Fire.
Henry has scored in three of New York's six MLS matches since that contest to tie Los Angeles' Landon Donovan for the league lead with 11 goals.
"They've got a great team," Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. "They've got Thierry Henry and Lindpere. Juan Agudelo is a young, exciting player. It's going to be up to us to come out and defend as a team, first and foremost."
The Red Bulls are expected to have midfielder Stephane Auvray available after acquiring him Friday from Sporting Kansas City for their second-round pick in the 2013 MLS draft.
The Fire are returning to Red Bull Arena for the first time since they played in the inaugural MLS match at the $200 million stadium, a 1-0 victory for New York on March 27, 2010.