Red Bulls-Fire Preview

Red Bulls-Fire Preview

Published Apr. 6, 2013 10:07 p.m. ET

An injured Thierry Henry delivered the New York Red Bulls' first win of the season last weekend.

The Chicago Fire would like to pick up their first victory Sunday.

The Fire will try to overcome a slew of injuries in order to end the worst start in franchise history and continue their home dominance of the short-handed Red Bulls.

New York (1-2-2) and Chicago (0-3-1) are both off to difficult starts to 2013 after reaching the playoffs last year.


The Red Bulls showed signs of beginning to turn things around last weekend, when Henry - nursing a knee injury - came off the bench to score the decisive tally in the 81st minute of a 2-1 win over Philadelphia.

Henry, who has one goal after getting 15 last season, is with the team in Chicago, while fellow forward Fabian Espindola - the team leader with two goals - will miss a second straight game with a hamstring injury.

"We're uncertain right now as to how we want go about it," first-year coach Mike Petke told the league's official website of Henry, who has two goals in his last three meetings with the Fire. "He wants to play of course, always does. I'd be surprised if he didn't feature."

The Fire may have some empathy since they're dealing with hamstring injuries to defender Arne Friedrich and midfielders Patrick Nyarko and Dilly Duka, while Alex has a right calf contusion.

Nyarko has Chicago's only goal through four games, but the team went on to lose that contest 4-1 at home to Chivas USA on March 24.

"Right now we do not seem to be getting a break. We are making some mistakes that are hurting us," coach Frank Klopas said. "When you don't put the chances away ... that's it.

"The injuries are part of it. You deal with it. The other guys have to step in and contribute."

Rookie Yazid Atouba may get his first start with Nyarko expected to be out after getting hurt in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Minnesota of the NASL last weekend.

Atouba has mustered one shot in his three games as a sub.

Perhaps a visit from New York can get the Fire going. They've outscored the Red Bulls 19-9 while going 6-0-4 in 10 home matchups since a 3-0 defeat on May 14, 2005, when Chicago still played at Solider Field and the Red Bulls were known as the MetroStars.

Joel Lindpere may have some motivation to keep that going since he's facing New York for the first time since being dealt to the Fire in January. The midfielder spent the last three years with the Red Bulls, scoring 17 goals with 19 assists.

Despite the Fire's struggles, Petke isn't overlooking them.

"That's one of the most dangerous, maybe the most dangerous team to play, especially early in the season," Petke told the team's official website. "I've said it before and I firmly stand behind it, that this is a team of quality in Chicago that I believe you can almost compare to us a little bit in (how) we didn't get the results we wanted the first four games."