Fire-Red Bulls Preview

The New York Red Bulls are not happy about three straight

afternoon home games in the humidity of the Northeast.

Coach Hans Backe will likely compensate with major changes in

the middle contest of this stretch when the Chicago Fire visit Red

Bull Arena on Wednesday.

Backe and star forward Thierry Henry were vocal in their

complaints before this set of games began with a 2-all draw against

Seattle on Sunday. The Red Bulls (9-5-5) host Philadelphia on

Saturday.

The coach said he will rotate his squad. Henry, who played 90

minutes Sunday, claims he wants to start all three games but that

doesn’t seem likely given the conditions. Forecasts call for

temperatures to reach the mid-90s.

“It’s kind of way hotter there,” Henry said about Red Bull

Arena. “The stadium keeps the heat, I don’t know what it is but

we’re going to have to see how it is.”

Another New York forward who played 90 minutes Sunday was

Sebastien Le Toux, who scored in his debut with the club after

being acquired Friday from Vancouver.

“The last two days have gone by so fast that I didn’t even have

a chance to think about it,” Le Toux said. “My mind was really off.

It was pretty crazy, but it felt good to get a goal in my new

uniform.”

A third forward also played the full game against the Sounders

in Kenny Cooper – second in the league with 11 goals. Henry is tied

for fifth with nine.

New York is one of two unbeaten teams at home with a 5-0-3

mark.

Chicago (9-6-4) has had some extra rest after a 1-0 home victory

over Vancouver on Saturday. The Fire do not play another MLS match

after Wednesday until July 28, but have an exhibition home game

against English club Aston Villa this Saturday.

The visitors are also aware of the conditions they’ll face with

the afternoon start time.

“It is what it is,” Chicago midfielder Logan Pause said. “I

think we train out here every day in the heat, and it’s going to be

no different. Obviously both teams are coming off games over the

weekend so that factors in.”

Chicago is one point behind New York in fourth place in the

Eastern Conference. The Fire won 3-1 at home over the Red Bulls on

June 17 but have totaled four goals in five games since – still

managing to go 3-1-1.

Henry and defender Rafa Marquez missed the first matchup for the

Red Bulls. Marquez will not be available again after leaving in the

21st minute Sunday with a left calf injury.

The Fire will be without defender Arne Friedrich, sent off in

the 69th minute against the Whitecaps. Chicago was ecstatic about

holding on after Pavel Pardo’s ninth-minute goal.

“You get a red card, and it’s amazing how it changes the game,”

coach Frank Klopas said. “The guys worked very hard in the

end.”

Chicago, 6-1-3 in its last 10 against New York, has matched its

2011 victory total as it seeks to end a two-year postseason

drought.

“We’re not happy for nine wins if we don’t get to our goal at

the end of the season,” Klopas said.