MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 14, 2012
(All times Eastern)
San Jose (4-1-0) at New York (3-2-0), 7 p.m.
Harrison, NJ (Sports Network) - Three of Major League Soccer's hottest
strikers are set to take the pitch on Saturday when Red Bull New York hosts
the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena.
Thierry Henry leads the league with seven goals on the season, all of which
have been scored in New York's last three games. The Frenchman is followed
closely by teammate Kenny Cooper and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, both on six
Having netted a total of 13 goals in the last three matches, New York is in
top gear at the moment. The Red Bulls became the first team in MLS history to
win three straight games by three goals or more. Coming off of a 4-1 win at
the Columbus Crew last weekend, head coach Hans Backe was full of praise for
"I don't think any team can perform over 90 minutes the way we did the first
60," Backe said. "It's a massive away win once again, scoring four goals and
our strikers scoring all of them. It's phenomenal."
Henry's sensational form yielded another MLS record. With two goals against
the Crew, he became the first player in league history to claim three straight
MLS Player of the Week awards. But despite the accolades, Henry is not resting
on his laurels.
"I thought we played a great first half," the Frenchman said after the win
over Columbus. "I don't think we played well at all in the second half. We
invited them too much into our box. They should have and could have scored two
or three goals to come back into the game, but they didn't. ... Overall, we
are happy, but personally, I'm disappointed in the second half."
New York will be without two important pieces making up the spine of the team.
Defender Wilman Conde is out with a groin strain while defensive midfielder
Teemu Tainio is still recovering from a knee sprain.
Those two injuries could prove to be beneficial for Wondolowski and the
Earthquakes, who are off to their best start in club history.
Wondolowski's bright start, along with a staunch defensive effort that has
yielded just two goals, has helped the 'Quakes win four of their opening five
"We're not getting carried away, obviously because it's a long season,"
Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop said. "But to get off to a good start, it's
always important in any league, especially ours."
San Jose fell behind in its last outing, surrendering a goal to Sebastien Le
Toux early in the second half. But three goals in the span of 10 minutes saw
the 'Quakes battle back in a 3-1 defeat of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
"The guys are feeling confident," Yallop continued. "They didn't play like it
in the first half, but what I liked about it was that they didn't really drop
their heads and lose 1-0. We came back into it, and then we started to feel
good about it and I thought we pushed on and deserved to win in the end."
Alan Gordon produced his first goal of the season in the win over Vancouver to
go along with Wondolowski's brace, but he will miss the clash at Red Bull
Arena with hamstring strain.
With a hamstring strain also sidelining striker Steven Lenhart, San Jose looks
a bit depleted up front. Simon Dawkins is likely to deputize alongside
04/13 15:06:51 ET