If you can’t remember the last time New York won back-to-back road games, there's a good reason for that.
It’s been awhile.
How long has it been? Well, to start things off, the last time the Red Bulls didn’t lose consecutive road games was in May 2008 (including even consecutive ties). The Red Bulls tied Toronto on May 1 of that season and then beat Los Angeles nine days later -- a game which was their last road win until the victory over Seattle a week ago.
To find the last time New York won back-to-back road games, you have to go back to October 2005 when the then-MetroStars beat D.C. United and then won at Chivas USA eight days later to squeak into the playoffs. The hero of that game was Michael Bradley.
Five Things To Watch When New York Travels to Chivas USA
1. Scoreless in Seattle. For a second straight game, New York held an opponent without a goal in Saturday night’s 1-0 win at Seattle. The week before, the defense held strong against Chicago. Chivas USA have failed to score a goal this season and have struggled offensively, to put it mildly. Look for New York to once again hold its line centrally and concede the wings to Chivas USA, who have never been a strong club in terms of crossing or playing the ball over the top. This might work to the Red Bulls’ advantage.
2. More Stammler. A big part of Seattle’s inability to score last weekend was Seth Stammler, who made his season debut against the Sounders. The defensive midfielder broke up plays and distributed very well out of the back. Stammler will be called on again to do the same thing at the Home Depot Center against Chivas USA’s Sacha Klejstan. Head coach Hans Backe praised Stammler’s effort against Seattle earlier this week.
3. Coundoul it again. It has been two solid, if not spectacular, if not heroic efforts by Red Bulls keeper Bouna Coundoul in the season’s opening games. No one questions his talent or his athleticism -- Mike Petke told MLSSoccer.com earlier this week that he was the best athlete he had ever played with -- but consistency has always been his struggle. Coundoul says he’s a far better keeper this year, and a third straight strong performance would prove that he is a more poised netminder.
4. Kandji Man. Which Mac Kandji will show up in Los Angeles on Saturday, the inconsistent player who struggled against Chicago or the goal-scorer who ignited much of the squad’s attack at Seattle? The potential is there for Kandji to produce with a true central midfielder in Joel Lindpere feeding him balls and Dane Richards’ ability through two games to find space wide right and get behind the back line of other teams. With those pesky Thierry Henry rumors still swirling, Kandji can help solidify his place on the team with another performance of note.
5. Desperate Chivas USA. It may only be three games into the season, but a loss by the Goats would confirm their worst start since their expansion year in 2005. Backe said that their opponents might be playing “desperate” after starting the season with two straight losses. It won’t impact his game plan, however. “They way we play, the way we look, we said it before Seattle," he said. "We go to LA to win the game."