So what happened the last time the Red Bulls faced the Chicago Fire on the road? They earned an early penalty that was converted, then allowed two goals and trailed at halftime. Scored a fantastic training field goal that was later deemed to be illegal by PRO during the MSG Broadcast, but not on the CSN Chicago Broadcast. Then once again fell asleep on a counter that lead to a game winner for the Fire.
But after a masterful performance in their next game to demolish DC United and celebrating Hate DC Week with a flourish, the Red Bulls now coming back from the international break and taking on a Chicago Fire side that just got steamrolled by a Didier Drogba hat trick and getting edged by the Montreal Impact.
Once again when you look at the standings in the Eastern Conference the Fire are in dead last with 27 points and to be honest they are limping to Red Bull Arena where the home side is 8-2-2 with 26 points in the league this season and as always is a fortress for the home side where as Toyota Park has kryptonite buried somewhere under the field.
But what does the team need to do to play better against the Fire when they arrive this Friday Night? "We need to play better the last time we played against them" Said Dax McCarty, "It was a really frustrating performance, but came out better against DC and we need to take that performance from DC into this one against Chicago."
"They are a good team and played well on the road at Montreal and at Orlando, but didn't get rewarded for that so they are going to be hungry and want to steal points, but we are strong at home and very solid at home. We need to be good with the ball and better than we were the last game."
As we remember what happened on that second Red Bulls goal that came from the training ground between Lloyd Sam & Sacha Kljestan, there was a bit of a question on how many touches Lloyd made to make that play legal or illegal, because of the referee instructing him to place the ball better, was there a whistle being heard?
"I think I was making sure that the ball was placed properly first and then I shouldn't have touched as many times as I have, but it did go in and we lost the game, all I was trying to do was to be clear that it's been touched."
But the players are ready to go and they are excited to get back out on the field, but Jesse Marsch was all business today at training as he knows full well what they need to do to be aware of the speedy attackers the Fire have like Kennedy Igboananike. "One of the things we did to ourselves (at Chicago) was putting ourselves into bad positions, by giving balls away to their explosive attackers and putting them on the move." Said Marsch, "So we have to do a better job not giving up balls in bad positions and do a better job of recovering and delaying that we understand that is what they are good at."
So the Red Bulls have a big opportunity to try and get three points once again and let's also not forget that there is a bigger prize to this match and of course it would mean leapfrogging over DC United for 1st place in the Eastern Conference. At the moment DC United is on a slump in league play while they have two group games remaining in their CONCACAF Champions League campaign, but once again the Red Bulls have an excellent chance to take the top of the Eastern Conference mountain if they execute their game plan.