Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop expects team to be ready for "big test" from New York Red Bulls

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Even as injury questions surrounding some key players come down to the wire, Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop expects his team to be ready to entertain when the New York Red Bulls come to town on Sunday afternoon (3 pm ET, UniMas).

His charges will be seeking their first win of the campaign in front of an expectant home crowd following a 3-2 loss at Chivas USA and a 1-1 draw at Portland Timbers.

“We want to get off to a good start, obviously against a good team, but most teams in our league are pretty good, they’ve got something they’re good at,” Yallop told reporters on Wednesday.

“But we’ve got a good team too, I’m excited about seeing this group go. It’s a big test but we’re going to be up for it.”

Having made four changes for the clash with Portland, Yallop is not expecting to shuffle his pack too much, although Dilly Duka (hamstring), Chris Rolfe (bruised foot), Mike Magee (hamstring) and Gonzalo Segares (knee/ankle) are all injury concerns, while Alex missed training with the flu but is expected to report a clean bill of health (see the full injury report).

“We want to make sure we come out against these guys and entertain the crowd, get a good result and get our homestand off to a good start,” he revealed. “I wouldn’t think there’ll be a bunch of changes, but there could be some stuff coming up that could see me make changes. We’ll see.”

Yallop will be without the versatile Lovel Palmer, who is suspended for two games for violent conduct toward Portland Timbers forward Maximiliano Urriti, while Patrick Nyarko also serves a one-match suspension following his late red card against the Timbers.

The last meeting between these two saw the Red Bulls hammer the Fire 5-2 in the last game of last season to deny them a place in the playoffs, but Yallop insists that result will have little bearing in terms of how approaches the tie.

“It’s irrelevant what happened last year,” he insisted. “For us, we’re playing at home and no matter who we play we try to win the game. Even away from home, the way I set up, I always try to win a game no matter what. Same thing here.”