Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio believes Jozy Altidore is worn out and feeling the impact of playing almost non-stop soccer for the past calendar year. Between his role with the U.S. national team, U.S. Under-23 national team, U.S. Under-20 national team last summer, and the Red Bulls, Altidore has played far more games and done far more traveling than you’re average 18-year-old player.
Osorio believes that loaded schedule has resulted in Altidore not playing his best and feeling fatigued and the Red Bulls coach may choose to sit Altidore for this weekend’s game against the Los Angeles Galaxy in order to get him some much-needed rest.
"I’m worried that we have seen some signs of tiredness and I can only try to help him as much as I can," Osorio said. "Therefore, if tomorrow he’s not 100 percent, which I think he won’t be, I will consider seriously not including him in the starting lineup."
"That’s something I have to discuss with my coaching staff," Osorio said when asked if Altidore may stay home this weekend rather than travel to Los Angeles. "It’s not playing, it’s all the traveling he’s been doing and all that stuff, and I don’t want to make things worse."
Osorio believes the Red Bulls are now paying for Altidore’s loaded schedule of matches, and while the 18-year-old striker did take a two-week break from the game this winter, he has shown signs of fatigue at times this season.
"It seems like I upset some people because I did say that the problem with a young player like Josmer playing so many games is that at the moment he’s showing some signs of overwork," Osorio said. "At the end of the day it’s us as a club that pay for it. I respect everybody and I respect all the coaches in the world and I respect the national team and the coach and everything else, but I do think that we, as a club, have to take his situation as unique because at the moment he’s been playing a lot of football and not resting.
"We are the club he plays for and we have to adjust to that," Osorio said. "We’re trying to do our best so he can play for the national team and for the Olympic team and he’ll still have enough energy to play for us."
Having Altidore miss the Galaxy match would be a tough blow for the Red Bulls, especially considering how well he played against Los Angeles last season. Altidore scored two memorable goals in the Red Bulls’ 5-4 victory against the Galaxy at Giants Stadium last season.
Osorio sounds confident in Juan Pablo Angel breaking through after struggling through his first game back following a back injury. Angel was ineffective in the Red Bulls’ 1-1 tie vs. Toronto FC, but has looked sharp in training this week.
"I think he just needs a goal," Osorio said of Angel. "But we all know what Juan brings to the table and once he scores his first goal I think he will be okay.
"It’s just probably anxiety, his first game in a while and probably his back, his injury," Osorio said. "I think he’s coming out of that and he’s training really well at the moment and hopefully he’ll score his first goal on Saturday."
Osorio has ruled Claudio Reyna as doubtful for Saturday’s match. Reyna has yet to train this week and is nursing a calf injury suffered against Toronto.
"We have two more training sessions, tomorrow’s and Friday, but I will not push the issue and if he’s not 100 percent then we’ll go with plan B."
Seth Stammler left training on Wednesday with an undisclosed back injury. He was sent to see a specialist after Wednesday’s practice.