MLS- New York Red Bulls

Marquez ready to make RBNY comeback

RafaMarquez (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPHotos.com


HARRISON, N.J.– Having played in one third of the Red Bull’s regular season matches (9 of 27), and appearing for just five minutes of play during the course of the past eight weeks, Rafa Marquez finally feels fit enough to return to the team and contribute in a major way.

“I find myself at 100% and ready to play,” Marquez said after training at Red Bull Arena on Thursday.  “I have to go little by little.  I expect to play 60-70 minutes at a good level because there are three games coming up and I want to be 100% for all three. “

Red Bulls coach Hans Backe has seen a difference in his enigmatic Designated Player since his return, but downplayed Rafa’s ambitious expectations. 

“I think he is fit, he has been training well, and as always, when players are coming back from injuries, you need to be smart that you don’t pick up new injuries,” Backe explained. “The number of minutes he can play I am not really sure.  You have to look at the game if he is coming on from the bench or if he is a starter.”

Marquez, who garnered some criticism for leaving the team to seek out medical attention in Mexico for his chronic calf issue, feels the move may have been the right one for his recuperation. 

“I had to seek other options and work a bit harder to come back at a good level,” he explained.  “(He went to Mexico) specifically to work on my rehabilitation.  I worked day and night for two weeks.

“It wasn’t a vacation.  I went there to recover.”

“He has definitely shown that the last six sessions after the break that he would like to contribute,” Backe observed.  “Giving the guys this break and looking into the six sessions, it’s probably the best five, six sessions of the year. Competitive, intense sessions. With almost every player back from injury, it will be a very, very competitive team.”

“I’m really hungry to come back and help out,” Rafa said.  “I’ve missed too many games already and I don’t want to miss the home stretch of the season.”

Long-time friend  and teammate Thierry Henry once again showed support for Marquez, who’s nagging injuries have created a cloud of controversy surrounding his time as a Red Bull.

“You know already (how I feel about Rafa),” Henry told reporters.  “And I can assure you guys he didn’t pay me to say what I say every time about him.

“I just think there is a big, big, big misunderstanding with Rafa Marquez, unfortunately for him.  I can assure you he was injured," Henry added. " I can hear some people thinking he doesn’t want to play or something like that – that’s not the case.  The guy is a competitor.  Sometimes when your body doesn’t respond, your body doesn’t respond – it’s not a reason to doubt him.”

Marquez echoed the team captain’s sentiments.  Asked about missing the World Cup Qualifiers with Mexico, Rafa replied, “It is difficult, just like with Red Bull.  You always want to play and it’s difficult when you are out and you can only watch your teammates play.  It’s a little frustrating.”

For Henry, Rafa’s contribution is unequivocal. 

“I’ve said it many times and ill repeat it; we need him to win the league," Henry said. "Simple as that.”

  • AcidBurn

    If Backe starts him, I give him about 20 minutes until the calf acts up again and he has to be subbed out and is out for another “3-4 weeks” – just long enough to get well and play the Oct WCQ with Mexico.


  • Brain Guy

    My only questions for Henry: where do you play him, and whom do you sit? McCarty? Holgersson? Pearce?


  • ManicMessiah

    As other people have said, we’ve seen with the Mark Teixeira injury, calf injuries are tricky things so it’s not a Rafa issue.

    I’d rather have him in the back with Conde and Pearce on the left than have him in the midfield. He brings a big plus (calm on the ball and passing), where Conde as a great 1 v 1 defender can cover for some of his defensive positioning.

    I think he’s better than Holgersson, so I want him playing, though I think it’d be foolish to be counting on him to be in every game for the rest of the season, which would seem to go against Hans’ declaration of wanting a settled back four (then again it’s not like Conde is the world’s safest bet on being healthy).


  • fortunate only

    One of the three most accomplished players in CONCACAF history.

    You may not like the guy due to his nationality but it’s hard to question his pedigree.


  • Dave from Charlotte

    I don’t care that he’s Mexican. I care that he’s a taint on MLS, has shown little class in MLS, and represents all that is wrong with bringing in old broken down players with a name.

    His lack of class shown to Donovan

    His lack of class shown to Ream

    His ineffective play on the field

    I could go on and on…


  • Ceez

    I’ve never been a Holgersson fan (even with his improved play, until recently) but I would MUCH rather play Holgersson over Marquez…any day.

    I’m a proponent of just buying his contract out and letting him find employment elsewhere. No one else’s commitment has been questioned except for his.


  • RLW2020

    +1 the line “It wasn’t a vacation. I went there to recover.” — a little defensive??

    i know how good he is but i haven’t seen it since moving to NY. as much as i don’t like the NJ Red Bulls i want to see the league get their money out of him!


  • TomG

    Pedigree is worth exactly squat. Youri Djorkaeff had a great pedigree. So did Lothar Matthäus. How did they do with NY? Pedigree means nothing if you’re a bum who’s just looking to collect a paycheck.


  • Ron

    what a waste of $$ by NY Red Bull. Imagine how much better they would be on the field if they spent that $5 mil a year on several players instead of one bust. Oh wait, MLS doesn’t allow clubs to do that. #MLSFAIL


  • parmack12134

    Wait and see….

    Regardless of the hate or love for this guy, the fact remains that he has not had enough on-the field time over the last two league campaigns to judge what it is New York has in Marquez.

    Sure, the guys who practice and play with him know, but those who support the team have no clue.

    Reality: This guy brings a quality out of the back that ranks near or at the top of the league (healthy..of course)

    He clumsily tried to light a fire under former team mate Ream (lost in translation) and foolishly reacted to something Donovan said or did during the game.

    Give this guy a shot to play @ the level of football the team expects, and see what becomes of RBNY’s playoff push.


  • Terry

    Marquez plays when it counts. He’ll be there in the playoffs. For some to say they’d rather have holgersson playing in front of Marquez is silly. Yes NY wasted money on Marquez but he’s one of the best defenders in the MLS regardless.


  • fortunate only

    ohh boo hooo

    Ream got called out for subpar performances.

    Donovan is hardly a knight in shining armor.

    Marquez hasn’t really played enough to be judged.

    You could go on and on with the rhetoric your regurgitating and still won’t have a point.


  • Baal

    Argh, thought he was done. Can’t stand to watch him play. He’s been awful here, from the start.


  • fortunate only

    I love MLS but it is not a league the lends itself well to guys like Djorkaeff or Henry.

    The overall quality of play is still poor and a guy like Marquez thrives on intelligent, something he won’t get with guys like McCarthy.

    That’s not to say Marquez has been great since he’s obviously been subpar but even when he played like sh*t for the RedBulls, he managed to put in good shifts with Mexico playing as a midfielder.

    There is a reason for that.

    It’s all part of the growing pains of the league.


  • The Imperative Voice

    The impression left was that while Marquez is 100% ready for NY, NY is not 100% ready for him. Backe left himself plenty of room to let him rot.

    All due respect to the “but he’s not played enough to judge” bunch, but on one level, that might be the point. He has slightly more than one season’s total games in 3 years!

    And on another level, I’ve never seen him play particularly memorably well, when he does play. So the inactivity starts to sound like an excuse for a flop. And while he might be injury ravaged, NY does not get the player he was or could be they get the player he actually is. Recurrent calf and hamstring pulls to me suggests someone out of shape who has to sit to rest an injury and then tries to get fit and in the process re-injures himself. Which is many an old player’s downward spiral, they struggle to overcome the initial spate of muscle pulls that follow around the rehabbed, over and over. You get hurt the second time struggling to overcome the last one, etc…

    Matthaus is fair, Djorkaeff is not. Youri had a good first year before fully cresting the hill and imploding year 2. He left some highlights.


  • goyim

    As a Red Bulls fan, the news that Rafa is ready to give 100% or is at a 100%, most certainly deserves a sarcastic “kill yourself, (rafa)” comment.

    Savy, Constable Dave?


  • who said

    No, we don’t need him. Let him stay on the bench. It would be better to bench him and that huge contract, than to lose points.


  • Brain Guy

    Marquez, for all his past accomplishments, and despite Henry’s high opinion of him, should have to earn his way back into the lineup. He simply has not played enough this year to develop anything near match-fitness or match-sharpness. And he has not played enough, or played well enough, during his tenure with RBNY to deserve a presumption that he should start. Backe should not tinker with the lineup simply to make room for Marquez now. Use him as a sub if you must, but don’t re-shuffle the cards again just to get him on the field.


  • Oranje Mike

    Maybe a bum, but NY’s offense is not the same without him on the field.

    Finally we will see what a full-strength Red Bull side can do.


  • Chris



  • Dave from Charlotte

    I think Hugo Lloris just started posting on SBI’s website. If not, then Don Quixote has gotten off his horse and is playing soccer…excuse me, i mean ‘football’.



    What has Henry done wrong? Cahill? Keane? Nesta? even Becks? “not first couple years”. Dont give me that BS “it is not a league the lends itself well to guys like Djorkaeff or Henry”. These guys seem to be doing fine b/c they’re true professionals which Marquez is not. Just watch these guys play and watch Marquez and you can see the differance, and i hate when people bring up his supporting cast, the Red Bulls are loaded with international experienced players not to Barca standards but cmon its not like hes playing with collegue kids…no excuses and a weak one at that


  • fortunate only

    If Henry’s frustration when he makes a run into space and Dax McCarty takes four touches only to trip over himself and lose the ball has to be worded and explained with legos then you can keep thinking MLS is high quality ball.

    The truth is the guys with high soccer IQ find it hard to adapt to MLS.

    It’s obviously improving but you can’t coach instinct.

    Do yourself a favor and not get so worked up over internet comments.

    Joamiq is right, Youri had a great first year in MLS, then his age sort of caught up to him. Some of the people who comment on here don’t even know what was going on in MLS six years ago.


  • TomG

    Please. You’re excusing the unprofessional behavior and lack of work ethic of a player because the league is beneath him? That’s ridiculous. It’s actually quite the opposite. The idiot thought he could do no work, show up on game day and dominate, but instead he’s getting his butt kicked every time he steps out on the pitch because he’s out of shape, unprepared and unfocused. The league is a good league that eats up talented, but lazy bums for breakfast.


  • TomG

    Tremendously bad. He was actually decent the first year, but he was a waste of flesh the second. Remember the “unexpected, serious family matter in France” he had to leave for?


  • Joamiq

    It was never clear what the situation was there. One can have a serious family matter requiring him to leave the country and still take in a match while overseas. I think he more than earned the benefit of the doubt by being the class of the league and team’s most valuable player (in its truest sense) in his first year.



    I was arguing the excuse you made for Marquez non existence. You cant blame his form on the surrounding cast “which i really dont think is all that bad” He cant adapt b/c he has a high soccer IQ? what?!!lol How do other players adapt then and produce with high soccer IQ’s? You mention Henry and how “it is not a league the lends itself well to guys like Djorkaeff or Henry,but hes an MVP candidate? RAFA DOES AND HAS DONE NOTHING…like i said no excuses, i wasnt worked up just disagreeing with you completely….and been a Metro fan since day one by the way, like “El Pitufo”days son, escuela is over.


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