Bulls ready to open new Fire home

It's almost like there's a revolving door at the trainer's room inside the New York Red Bulls locker room -- one midfielder in, one out.

As the Red Bulls head to Chicago to face the Fire on Sunday evening, making his way back into the Red Bulls starting XI is Amado Guevara, who sat out last week with a strained right hamstring. Out is Mark Lisi, with a nagging abdominal strain.

"He's done everything we've asked, double treatments, he's been getting everything possible for him," Mo Johnston said of Guevara. "We look forward to getting him back on the field."

Lisi will need to return to Munich to get re-evaluated but Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck is currently booked solid. Until then, he will continue to try and play through the injury.

"He's hurting," Johnston said of Lisi. "He's getting on the field, he's working through it but he needs to go to Germany to get re-evaluated. Can we allow him to go right now? No, not really. He's giving good honest work, giving 100 percent and he's injured. I can't ask for anything more."

Mike Magee did well off the bench last weekend, replacing Lisi but his bothersome ankle will limit his availability Sunday to the substitutes' bench.

Guevara will likely be the lone change in Johnston's 3-5-2 Sunday. If that's the case, it will mean a partnership in the midfield between Guevara and Youri Djorkaeff that has been unsuccessful to this point. Johnston's other option is to start Djorkaeff up top with red-hot Jean Philippe Peguero and bring Edson Buddle off the bench.

Peguero has been the subject of a rumored transfer to Molde FK of Norway's Tippeligaen, but the Haitian striker, whose flair, unpredictability and ability to put the ball in the net have made him a fan favorite, said he has no interest in leaving New York or MLS.

"I'm not looking at other options right now, I'm just focused right now on getting this team on top and getting ready for the playoffs," he said. "I do like playing here."

The grand opening of Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., will be the first of what is a grueling stretch of five games in 15 days for the Red Bulls -- four of which will be away from Giants Stadium. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Red Bulls are the only team in MLS without a loss on the road -- they're 0-0-4 -- and the chance to play on grass four times over the next two weeks is well worth the travel.

"I can't wait to train on grass," Tony Meola said. "I hate going on the road for 10 days but it would be nice to be on grass for 10 days straight because it doesn't happen all year except for preseason. [The turf] just beats your body up."

Added Johnston: "When we came in this morning, guys were hurting. I've got a young club, so they shouldn't really be hurting. It's obviously to do with the surface. But we have to be able to play on this because this is where we play."

Meola is also excited about opening another MLS stadium. The MetroStars did it last year, when they played FC Dallas at the grand opening of Pizza Hut Park and they will do it again Sunday, where a sellout crowd of 20,000 is expected for the historic night. It is the grand opening, but won't be the first time Chicago has played at Toyota Park.

Two weeks ago the Fire met the New England Revolution in a "dress rehearsal." That game, which ended in a 3-3 draw, was played in front of Fire season ticket holders and Bridgeview residents. The Red Bulls and Fire played to a 1-1 draw at Giants Stadium on May 13.

"It should be fun, as an opponent you might want to play the second game," Meola said. "But it's part of the history of our league and I think it's great for the league."

With their second win of the year last Saturday, the Red Bulls moved out of the Eastern Conference basement and sit two points in front of the Fire. Johnston has said all year that teams are finding it hard to beat the Red Bulls on the road and they've proven that with four points in four games. Three times though, at D.C., at Real Salt Lake and at Kansas City, the Red Bulls squandered late leads.

"We can sit and we can counter and we've got guys up front now who can hold the ball and get behind people," Johnston said. "And you put a Djorkaeff and a Guevara in there, they can open up any defense in this league."

Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.