San Jose, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Frank Yallop will be present when the San Jose Earthquakes open Avaya Stadium on Sunday. It just won't be the capacity he expected a few years ago.
Yallop was in charge of the San Jose Earthquakes as recently as the beginning of the 2013 season, after the club had already broken ground on its new stadium.
But he was fired after a poor start to that campaign and took over the Chicago Fire, who will be San Jose's first opponent.
"I did get a little excited, to be honest," Yallop said during a conference call when asked about coaching in the first game at Avaya Stadium. "I thought to be the first to go in there with my new team to try and compete against those guys is great. I'm excited to go back because [of a] 'it's about time' sort of thing. It's a beautiful stadium. I haven't seen it live yet, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it. It'll be an emotional day, in a good sense."
Yallop may enjoy his time at the new ground, but he will be more focused on helping the Fire claim their first point of the season after back-to-back losses against Los Angeles and Vancouver to start the campaign.
Chicago was easily outplayed in the 2-0 defeat to the Galaxy, and the club was unlucky to lose 1-0 to the Whitecaps on an 86th-minute goal from Octavio Rivero.
The former San Jose boss would love to spoil the Earthquakes' debut at Avaya, but first he must figure out a way for his team to score a goal.
Yallop will at least be able to welcome back goalkeeper Sean Johnson after he missed the last game because of an arm injury, while Designated Player David Accam has yet to make his MLS debut because of a groin injury suffered in preseason.
San Jose will be carrying some momentum from its last outing, a 3-2 defeat of Seattle that saw Chris Wondolowski get off the mark with a pair of goals.
After ending last season on a 15-game winless streak, San Jose lost 1-0 to FC Dallas to begin the new season.
But after giving away a goal to Clint Dempsey in the opening minute, Wondolowski scored on either side of halftime before Innocent Emeghara scored his first MLS goal.
Obafemi Martins pulled one back for the Sounders in the 84th minute, but San Jose held on for the win.
"It's been a while for us since we got a win. It's really nice, especially up here," Wondolowski said after the victory in Seattle. "It gives us confidence to take on this year. If we start 0-2 after losing one late against Dallas, I think you start second-guessing yourself a bit. I kind of feel that we're on the front foot now. We get to open our new stadium. That's another big test for us. Hopefully, we can keep that ball rolling."