The road has not been kind to the Chicago Fire.
The club is one loss or draw away from tying the longest winless road streak in MLS history. A 27th trip with no victory would put the Fire in the same company as the 2008-09 Red Bulls. The streak has almost nothing to do with the team coach Veljko Paunovic and general manager Nelson Rodriguez are trying to build. But neither man will want to be associated with that distinction.
Perhaps more importantly for Paunovic - who may not care about a streak that occurred mostly in his absence - is the chance for redemption. The rookie coach publicly stated the team had its honor hurt in the home opener and Sunday's game would have that little extra importance with a chance for revenge.
If you recall, New York put on quite an offensive show in front of the Toyota Park fans on March 6. Thomas McNamara channeled his Chivas USA debut and scored on the Fire, as he tends to do. Then Khiry Shelton showed off how he can be really fast and the defense was a little shaky and did things like leave Mix Diskerud wide open at the top of the box.
Overall, it wasn't the greatest way to start the season.
But that can be remedied with the trip to the playpen that is the Yankee Stadium. Can Arturo Alvarez, who has had a string of tough performances, reclaim the sterling play he showed against New York in the opener? Can the defense put up a third consecutive clean sheet? Can Kennedy Igboananike keep scoring?
It's all very possible. Since that season opening win, New York has had three games at home and has failed to win a single one. Shelton, who proved problematic for the Fire, has struggled and may not even start tonight. The New York defense has been about as awful as the 2015 Fire defense. And Patrick Vieira is still trying to find the best mix of personnel.
It is difficult to pick the Fire to win a road game, especially without David Accam, who has officially been ruled out. But just as all good things come to an end, so do all bad things. The Fire claim their first road victory since 2014 and take a 2-1 decision in Yankee Stadium. Gilberto finally finds the net and Igboananike keeps scoring. McNamara of course scores for New York.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 149 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 35; pens: 47
ALL-TIME (3 meetings):
NYCFC 1 win, 6 goals ... Fire 1 win, 6 goals ... Ties 1
AT YANKEE STADIUM (1 meeting): NYCFC 0 wins, 2 goals ...
Fire 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 1
3/6: CHI 3, NYC 4 (Cocis 19; Igboananike 49; Accam 72 - McNamara 10; Taylor 29; Shelton 36; Diskerud 63)