Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
With a matchup with conference leaders New England Revolution looming, the Red Bulls needed all hands on deck in the midfield to combat the absence of Australian World Cup departure Tim Cahill.
Unfortunately for the Red Bulls, the hands, and feet, of midfielder Dax McCarty will be absent for the next few weeks. The 27-year-old picked up a knee injury in the Red Bulls May 27 draw with Sporting KC that will keep the midfielder out of action for the next few weeks.
“Everybody (is OK) except for Dax McCarty,” Petke said. “In the first half (against Kansas City), Dax took a pretty bad knock to his knee. He actually made it through the game [and] played through the pain. We’ve had an MRI on his knee and the situation looks like a couple of weeks, to be honest with you. At the end of the day, this is probably, if it was going to happen, the best time to happen with the World Cup (break) coming.
“He got a pretty vicious hit knee-to-knee or shin-to-knee in the Kansas City game,” Petke continued. “Like I said, I don’t know exactly what it is. For me to say that he has a break or for me to say that he has a sprain, it would just be me guessing because I get the report after practice and right now the doctor hasn’t come in yet.
“That’s why I’m still waiting for him. But it is significant enough that the early indication MRI states that he will not be in the New England game and most likely will not be in the Cosmos game.”
Here are some more of today’s Red Bulls notes:
PETKE UNCONCERNED WITH VILLA SIGNING
With the unveiling of David Villa as the first signing of New York City FC, the city of New York is already decorated sky blue with billboards welcoming the league’s newest superstar.
However, one person who isn’t too concerned with the arrival of Villa is New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. The second-year head coach is impressed with the signing, but Petke insists Villa’s arrival is the last thing on his mind.
“Any time you sign a player that’s played at a high level it’s good for the league,” Petke said. “Yeah, David Villa is a good player and, as far as me facing him next year, I’m smack dab in the middle of the 2014 MLS season so I’m really not thinking at this second how we’re going to deal with someone like that, David Villa, or NYC FC. That’ll come more at the end of the season into the offseason.”
Petke also stated that Villa’s signing wouldn’t exactly prompt an immediate counterpunch from the Red Bulls. For Petke and the Red Bulls, transfer moves will be made when the time is right for the team.
“Like I said many times, we’re always looking to sign if someone is available,” Petke said. “Having another team sign a star is not going to force us to do it right away. One thing, to me, has nothing to do with the other.
‘We’re always looking at DPs, we’re always looking at big players,” Petke added. “Of course the transfer window is coming up. It is somewhat of a collaboration but, at the end of the day, it’s [New York Red Bulls Sporting Director] Andy Roxburgh’s decision [while] collaborating with all of us. We’re always having discussions about that. Nothing at this moment.”
PETKE LOOKING TO ADD DEPTH AT FORWARD
Despite the ongoing discussion of bringing in a Designated Player, Petke and the Red Bulls are also looking to address the team’s depth, specifically at the forward position.
“Obviously, right now, we’re limited at the forward position we have just one back-up in Andre Akpan so obviously it’s not a problem to say there we need a little more depth,” Petke said. “As far as from last year we’re always looking to improve positions and that means we’re talking to other teams [and] other teams call us constantly about players but it has to be right for us financially and if they’re the right fit personality-wise and if we think he’s the right fit to help the team.
“As far as during the transfer window,” Petke continued, “we have people looking at certain places in the world and when we get reports back and we get a situation that we think a player could help the team, I’m very confident that we would act on it.”
HENRY’S STATUS UNDECIDED FOR REVOLUTION CLASH
In addition to Cahill and McCarty, the Red Bulls may also be without star forward Thierry Henry for their visit to the Revs.
The 36-year-old forward has generally been kept off turf by the Red Bulls in an effort to protect his health, but Petke says the team is still undecided on Henry’s status for this weekend.
“Again, like every week, every time we play [on] turf, I’ll give you the answer I will have to give you is that nothing has been decided yet,” Petke said. “However, history does tell that he would usually not play on a surface like New England’s [Gillette Stadium]. There’s always a chance but as of now we haven’t made any final decisions. ”
Henry had been seen this week in London, signaling the likelihood that he will not be playing this weekend in Foxboro. Henry is set to go to the World Cup during the group stage to help with the BBC’s coverage.
PETKE PROUD OF MILLER; LOOKING TO GIVE REST OF TEAM WC BREAK
Defender Roy Miller has long since been a constant target of criticism during his time in a Red Bull shirt. However, improvements in play have seen the 29-year-old bestowed one of the highest honors in soccer: a trip to the World Cup.
“I’m proud of him,” Petke said of his Costa Rican defender. “He’s come a long way especially since early last year and everything that went on. He’s really made a commitment to himself and to the team and to put things behind him. Mid-last year to early this year, he’s been one of, if not the best left back in the league. That’s my opinion. He’s good going forward, he’s good with the ball at his feet and he’s really cleaned up his defensive part in the team. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
As for the rest of the team’s World Cup plans, Petke plans on using the break to give his players as much rest as possible.
“I’m hoping to give them five or six days off,” Petke said. “We haven’t finalized it yet but I’m hoping to do that. The players need it and the staff certainly needs it as well and that would have to take place the day right after the Cosmos game to get back the following weekend to give us five solid days of training before we take on Toronto. That should be finalized any day now but that’s what we’re hoping to do.”
Who do you think the Red Bulls should pursue? How will the team play without McCarty and Henry this weekend? How will Miller and Costa Rica fare in the upcoming tournament?
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