"The fans have been standing behind us, and we look at this game as an appreciation to them for our season, and we're excited about it," Union team manager Peter Nowak said. "There is still a little disappointment in not making the playoffs, but we're looking forward to better days ahead."
The Union are coming off a 1-0 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy on Oct. 7 before an animated, sold-out crowd.
As in many games this season, the Union outplayed the Galaxy for long stretches but allowed a goal on a set piece. This one came on Edson Buddle's header off a David Beckham corner kick.
"We had good movement of the ball, but we still need to score goals," Nowak said.
Midfielder Fred, who required four stitches above his eye, will be ready to play Saturday, Nowak said.
Others listed on the Union injury report as probable are goalie Brad Knighton (shoulder), forward Danny Mwanga (shoulder) and defender Juan Diego Gonzalez (groin).
Union forward Sebastien Le Toux has 13 goals this season, three behind Buddle, the MLS leader.
"We're just hoping to end up on a positive note," Le Toux said.
Nowak said he is pleased with how the team has fared in the final leg of the season. The Union are 3-3-2 in their last eight games, and the only game in which they were not competitive was a 4-1 loss on Sept. 29 at Colorado.
"We are positive moving forward, and this will be a very good game for us," Nowak said.
New York (14-8-6) has the most points (48) in the Eastern Conference and is two points ahead of Columbus. The Red Bulls can clinch the Eastern Conference with a win and a loss or draw by Columbus at Toronto FC.
New York has been boosted by the play of French international Thierry Henry, who has two goals and three assists in 11 games. The former Arsenal and Barcelona star was signed July 14.
However, Henry and fellow designated player Rafael Márquez of Mexico are struggling with injuries and will be game-time decisions by head coach Hans Backe according the the Red Bulls website.
New York defeated the visiting Union, 2-1, on April 24 in the teams' only other MLS meeting. The Red Bulls also scored a 2-1 win over the Union three days later in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or email@example.com.