New York's Rafael Marquez (right) is expected to start for the Red Bulls against Chicago on Sunday.
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Márquez expected to start against Chicago

New Red Bulls signings Rafa Márquez and Thierry Henry practiced with the team on Thursday, working on fitness and resistance training ahead of the club’s looming showdown with the Chicago Fire on Sunday at Toyota Park.

Head coach Hans Backe said he is pleased with the fitness level of Márquez, adding that the prized Mexican international "has only really been off for three-and-a-half weeks” since leading El Tri at the World in South Africa.

Márquez is expected to be in the starting lineup in the midfield on Sunday against Chicago, said Backe adding that New York's newest designated player "looks sharp."

Absent from Thursday’s practice were Jeremy Hall and Luke Sassano. Hall will be out at least this week but could be available for the Aug. 14 game against Los Angeles after suffering a quadriceps injury. Sassano was scheduled for surgery Thursday on his ankle and will be out for the season.

Backe said he is pleased with the team’s injury status and was happy to see Kevin Goldthwaite on the field for his third training session with the team. While Backe doesn’t think that Goldthwaite will be available for about six months, he thought it was a good sign that the defender is back and participating in training.

Backe confirmed that with the move of Sassano to the season-ending injury list, no roster moves or shakeups need to be made with the addition of Márquez to the roster.

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs. He can be reached for comment at and followed at