BY DAVE MARTINEZ
Just when things were beginning to look up for the New York Red Bulls, injuries have once again struck at the least opportune time.
Reports out of Red Bulls camp have Hans Backe revealing dynamic newcomer Lloyd Sam will miss the rest of the the season after diagnostics confirmed a PCL strain of his right knee. Sam joins fullbacks Brandon Barklage and Wilman Conde on what is quickly becoming a growing list of missing players just shy of the playoffs.
Of the three, Conde’s absence is the only one that is not health related as he has taken a reported personal leave from the side. Meanwhile, Tim Cahill, who was clutching his heavily iced right arm after the match, is said to be in good health and should be available for the remaining matches.
New York was forced to stretch their personnel against Sporting KC this past weekend thanks to their roster woes. Dax McCarty featured on the left midfield side for the first time all season while Heath Pearce returned to his natural left back position and Rafa Marquez was pushed back to the centerback slot. The absence of Sam will put the Red Bulls back in a similar quandary.
Keep in mind – mere weeks ago, New York desperately sought an explosive wing presence to add width to their attack. With Sam gone, there are few players with his speed and skill set which can fill the role. Backe favorite Jan Gunnar Solli will likely get the nod on the right. An under-performing Sebastian Le Toux failed to stake claim to the spot in his opportunities but could be looked at to fill the role while the versatile Connor Lade is also an option.
What do you make of this development? See the Red Bulls shaking it off and making a run at MLS Cup, or think they struggle offensively without Sam?
Share your thoughts below.