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Red Bulls Update: Back problems strike again, this time Reyna


The rash of back injuries plaguing the Red Bulls has claimed a new victim, Claudio Reyna. The Red Bulls captain has been diagnosed with disk herniation in his back that has contributed to the hamstring strain that kept him out of last week’s game against Houston and will keep him out of Thursday’s match against Chivas USA.

Reyna is the third key Red Bulls player to deal with back problems this season. Forward Juan Pablo Angel is still dealing with a nerve condition in his lower back that has caused problems in his hamstring while midfielder Seth Stammler was also sidelined for two matches with back issues.

Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio was at a loss for a direct explanation for the rash of injuries, but believed that the hardness of the grass field at the Red Bulls practice facility could be playing a role.

It is unclear when Reyna will return to action, but won’t return to training until next week, at the earliest.

Jozy Altidore and Jeff Parke sat out training on Tuesday with ankle injuries, but both are expected to train on Wednesday and play on Thursday night. Midfielder Luke Sassano is more of a question mark. He has been listed as questionable for Thursday with a toe injury.

Juan Pablo Angel trained fully on Tuesday and looked sharp.

Colombian forward Oscar Echeverry also trained on Tuesday, but lingering pain in his knee will likely keep him out of Thursday’s match.

Midfielder Dave Van Den Bergh did not train on Tuesday. He was with his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s second son on Monday night. Van Den Bergh, who trained on Monday, is expected to start on Thursday. Osorio did admit that he liked what he saw from Van Den Bergh in an attacking midfield role against KC and we could see him there again on Thursday.

So what should the lineup look like on Thursday night? Here is a possibility:


Borman——–Van Den Bergh———–Richards




What lineup would you like to see on Thursday against Chivas USA? Share your thoughts on these developments below.


  1. Tab Ramos and Reyna. Much was done to respectively keep and acquire them. Results the produced were less than favorable.

    I feel bad for Reyna. I think this field may have contributed in some way to his lack of success, however, I think he just never jelled with this club.

    Hopefully, we can improve from this point in the season and rack up some wins — preferably at home!

  2. Frank, Gravd,

    You must be joking about Freeman deserving to play over Leitch at right back. Did you even watch the last few Red Bull matches? Leitch was the best Red Bull on the field this past Saturday against Houston. He prevented at least 2 goals by Ching, setup one of our best scoring opportunities on the 60 yard pass to Borman (which Borman subsequently put into the bleachers at point blank range), and was the only player making overlapping runs at the end of the game.

    Wasn’t Freeman a marking back, and responsible for 2 goals in the 5-1 loss to Chicago the week before? Not saying it was entirely his fault, but his defending was terrible in that game. I’ll buy Freeman starting over Sassano (who, incidentally, passed 12 balls to Dynamo players in the 41 minutes he played), but not over Leitch.

  3. Oh yes – I remember the pre Reyna days when RedBull/Metro won championships! What is more boring – reading Reyna's injury list or the comments critical of him? I'd say the latter.

  4. Oh yes – I remember the pre Reyna days when RedBull/Metro won championships! What is more boring – reading Reyna's injury list or the comments critical of him? I'd say the latter.

  5. I'm so glad I came back to play here in New Jersey, it's great because I can earn a million dollars for doing nothing. How cool is that man? And the best thing is, I can blame my injuries on the astroturf so no one can hate me! This is the life!

  6. oh, and what exactly does he own the corporation that is Red Bull to give up money for them? it’s not like he’s been here for the decade sucking up huge amounts of cash after they took a chance on him or something.

  7. I’m just wondering if Ives is ever going to admit that all the people in the off season that were hoping Reyna would leave one way or another (retirement, whatever) were actually right.

    It’s going to take me a little while after Reyna finally does retire to get back to thinking about him circa 2002, rather than the extremely bitter taste in my mouth his Red Bulls stint is leaving me with.

  8. selfless? Reyna is about to retire in his mid-thirties. when most adults are entering their prime earning years, he is going to be leaving his. Now is the time to bank all the cash you can (he has kids, right? I assume he might want them to go to college? what does his wife do for money? (I have no idea, actually) maybe he will be incredibly successful at his next endeavor and make a lot of money? maybe he’ll spend the next ten years trying to figure that out. an extra million bucks buys security for his kids for another few years. It’s not like he has been making ten million a year for the past decade, you know.

  9. I’d prefer to see Freeman pairing with Stammler. He played there in another game and I thought he played well. To date, in a 3 man back line Parke and Goldthwaite have looked like all-stars, and Leitch has played well there. Hopefully they can replicate that form and limit the mental errors which have cost us some goals in recent games.

    And I mentioned this in another thread, but I’m very excited to see VDB get the nod behind the strikers. We’ll miss his crossing of the ball, but he really is the only guy who can pass the ball and provide a threat from long range. Hard there was a good chance he would have been cut early in pre-season had JCO been able to land some players. You can argue that he’s been our MVP to date.

  10. Reyna circa 5 years ago was a great player but him coming to play in MLS at age 34 was a bad idea. He has always had injury problems and he comes to play on a team that basically plays on concrete painted green and it sounds as if the practice field is almost as bad. It was always going to be a bad fit. Sounds like its even starting to take a toll on Angel not surprising considering he is getting up there in age as well. Red Bull can’t get the the new stadium and practice facility built fast enough.

  11. @brett – You make a fair point.

    In my world where professional athletes aren’t money hungry a-holes, Reyna would give a press conference saying how honored he was by NYRB giving him such a huge contract, but he was retiring early because his body can no longer handle the rigors of professional football. At the press conference he would actually explicitly state he was doing this for the good of the NYRB and the MLS. He wants to make sure NYRB had the necessary $$$ and DP slot to help make the team better. When asked about his career he would state his only regret of his entire career was pulling up lame in the 2006 WC vs. Ghana, and apologize again to all the US fans. At the end of the press conference he would stand up to leave, pull his hamstring and collapse to the ground. The final words you hear on camera would be, “See…this is why I’m retiring now!”

    But to answer your question, at some point you have to accept reality and be a little selfless.

  12. I like this line-up without Reyna … except for Leitch! That’s Freeman’s position, and he’s earned it. I’d rather see Mendes there than Leitch, to be honest. As for Reyna, he’s really too banged up to still be playing. It’s a different injury every month. I seem to be one of the few who appreciates his skills, but his health has gotten to the point where he should hang up the cleats and give us back the DP salary room.

  13. Why Leitch? Freeman can actually defend and attack, and we need some consistency, come on Osorio don’t be like Arena and change the lineup every other game, please.

  14. Well everyone is harping on Reyna, but he’s not the only one struggling with injuries this season. About a third of the way into the season and we have still yet to put out a best 11 on the field. Still, those who last year were upset at the announcement that Reyna would take one of our DP slots saying that he was too injury prone (and I’m one of those) have definitely been shows they were right. Can’t blame Reyna for it though. It was Arena’s fault for giving him that deal (and guaranteed for 2 years to boot). Those that were in favor of the deal would point out that Reyna was getting paid $3mil a year so him accepting “only” $1mil a year was a bargain, however they neglected to note that he was near the end of that $3mil a year contract and so would be looking for a new contract in just a couple of months (and there was no way the new contract he would have signed would have been $3mil) so his pay cut was already coming.

    Its frustrating being a NY supporter, however even with Reyna’s DP salary we’re still quite a bit below the cap. We should, even with Reyna on the team, have been able to improve more than we have. No matter who’s in charge there just seem to be so many obstacles for this team.

    Why oh why Ives did you write in that pre-season article about the RedBulls about with Ossario being in charge the team has not had any injury concerns? Seems just a few days latter the team turned into the walking wounded (and has remained that way).

  15. HomeyBoehme- if you were getting paid 1M+ to play pro soccer, and you kept finding yourself injured, would you drop the money??

  16. well according to Osorio its a rule that if you dont train you dont play right? That was his comment for not starting Jozy against CHI. That means Jozy, VDB, and Parke can’t start right?

    Of course they should start because a rule like that would be f*cking stupid.

    AS for Reyna,,RETIRE ALREADY!!

  17. Like the line-up. Love VDB in the CAM role. Anyone know how long the deal for Claudio was for? It’s up after this year right? My googling is below par.

  18. Not that this needs repeating, but Reyna should retire…or change his name to Johnnie O’Brien. Man up, and show some respect. You know you do not deserve that salary, and you know your body cannot take playing on the field anymore.

  19. haha, i have to agree about only announcing when Reyna is actually healthy and playing.

    as for Angel, is it safe to assume that while he’s looking sharp, that he’s still not 100%?

  20. Hve Reyna retire, trade the DOP slot to the Fire for an assitant coach so we can have BMB. We’ll even throw in guppy.

  21. I’m really fed up with Reyna…I knew from the start he was going to do nothing for the Red Bulls…Such a smart move wasting a DP Spot on him

  22. Hey Ives,

    Could you please do us a favor and just announce when Reyna is actually healthy and fit to play? Normal assumption is that he is out injured every game, so you could probably just get by announcing when he’s healthy and save yourself a lot of time. What a absolute waste of a DP (still love Reyna in 2002 though).

  23. You know what? Reyna out of the lineup?

    A plus in my book.

    The guy don’t add anything when he does play, so keep him out.

    Let the bum see out his contract, and then strike him from the record books….

    Let Sassano and Stammler do the grunt work in the center of midfield and VDB create. Borman and Richards give us lively wingers, our forwards are spot on. We’re good.

  24. I think that’s a serviceable line-up. We can work with that. The midfield is questionable, but I think we could pull it off. As for Reyna — He has been about as useful as a billy goat’s nipples.

  25. Ives,

    You’ve been a long-term supporter of Reyna. But even you had to see and injury like this coming. When was the last time Reyna made it through 3/4 of a season healthy? I love the “Reyna of old”, but this is just an “Old Reyna”.

  26. Ives,

    I like that line-up. Oh man, did I just say: “I like that line-up?” I mean if that’s what we have available – it seems like our best bet!

  27. Listing the Reyna parts that are injured is a an exercise in futility. Just list the parts that are not damaged.

  28. Can’t Reyna just man up and retire. Give us back our DP spot and move on already. And get Leitch off this team, has one bad match by Freeman punished us with more Chris Leitch?

  29. renya hurt..nooooooo i dont believe you 😀

    as a fire fan all i can say is “JOZY GET OUT OF THERE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!”

    anyone want to know why Jozy has had all these “injuries”??? its b/c he doesnt want to hurt himself on the concrete slab you practice on…

    as a fan of the MLS, i hope for your sake that the redbull facility is built by next season and it has grass (or at least a better surface)..


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