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Red Bulls Notes: Henry, Olave unlikely to travel to Seattle; Sam back from injury; and more

Thierry Henry

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The New York Red Bulls could be missing two of their best players when they take the pitch at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in five days time.

In addition to losing forward Bradley Wright-Phillips for this Sunday’s clash against the Seattle Sounders due to a hamstring injury, the turf surface of the field is likely to keep Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave and forward Thierry Henry from making the trip to the west coast, due to age and the potential to suffer injuries on the surface.

“It’s not something that (Henry) just doesn’t like turf,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said in his weekly conference call. “He has a chronic issue with his Achilles and if I’m being told by the doctors that it could be damaged, then it’s a situation that, are you going to sacrifice or take that risk for one game, no matter what the significance is, when there’s still three more left to play in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs?”

Petke echoed many of the same statements when asked about Olave’s chances to play, which will likely leave the Red Bulls down three starters in a match between the top two teams in the league in terms of points.

“Both of those guys are huge question marks and I’ll probably lean more towards no they will not be going,” Petke said.

Here are some more notes from Petke’s weekly conference call:


While it looks like the Red Bulls will be missing some of their key players for the match against the Sounders, one player who has missed the last two weeks due to injury is set for his return to action this weekend.

Lloyd Sam suffered a groin injury one day before the Red Bull’s 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on September 14, an injury that came at a tough time just as he was starting to make the right midfielder spot his own. Despite not coming back as quick as the coaching staff hoped, Petke said that unless something unexpected happens, Sam will be available for selection on Sunday.

“Lloyd was slated to pretty much potentially start against Dallas this weekend and at the last minute he just didn’t feel right. You can’t force the player out if he’s not feeling right. He wasn’t 100 percent in his mind and he didn’t feel comfortable or confident and I give him credit for relaying that.

“Unless something crazy has happened in the last day or so, he’ll be again full on (in practice) this week and hopefully 100 percent healthy and available to go vs. Seattle.”


Two days on from Bradley Wright-Phillips’ hamstring injury, Petke was still in the dark over how serious it would be.

Midway through the first half, Wright-Phillips collapsed after pulling up while sprinting after a through ball, forcing him off the field. It was the English forward’s fourth consecutive start, but Petke didn’t sound confident that Wright-Phillips would return in the near future.

““It would be a miracle if he was available this week,” Petke said. “You saw he was in full stride and the way he went down. I know he’ll be out this weekend, but beyond that I don’t want to speculate and put numbers down. But I don’t think this is a one week out type of thing.”

Wright-Phillips is due to have an MRI on the hamstring on Tuesday, and the results will be disseminated soon after.


  • Roy Miller is ruled out for this weekend but Petke said he hopes that Miller will be back in light training next week.
  • Petke said aside from the normal aches and pains from a game, Cahill seems to be doing fine and he expects him to be available on Sunday.
  • Petke was highly complimentary of the atmosphere on display in Seattle week in and week out, saying, “Environment is unreal there. It’s as close to European soccer as you can get in this country. Those fans are phenomenal, loyal, and it’s exciting.”


What do you think of these notes? Do you see the Red Bulls winning without Henry or Olave? Do you see Sam stepping back into the starting XI? Worried about the Wright-Phillips injury?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Henry.. does he exist? He never plays in Seattle.. I’ve seen Lenhart.. he’s a cagey guy,.. like him or hate him at least he shows up.. he has heart.



  2. I’d be interested to see an injury breakdown to see if turf actually does impact players more. Do teams (just Seattle and Portland?) that play on turf have higher injury rates than teams that play on grass?


      Objective: To compare the incidence, nature, severity and cause of match injuries sustained on grass and new generation artificial turf by male and female footballers.

      Methods: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System was used for a two-season (August to December) prospective study of American college and university football [soccer] teams (2005 season: men 52 teams, women 64 teams; 2006 season: men 54 teams, women 72 teams).

      Conclusions: There were no major differences in the incidence, severity, nature or cause of match injuries sustained on new generation artificial turf and grass by either male or female players.

      • I’m not doubting a study I haven’t read and will go on the assumption it’s true. But Henry and Olave are both older, and I wonder whether turf may exacerbate ligaments and muscles in older athletes, whose wear and tear on their bodies may react to the different surface.

      • You’re right that it doesn’t specifically cover older athletes or injuries after playing on turf. But it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that if those were the case you’d see it in the data in the form of more injuries to players who played on turf at home. That’s just not there in this particular study.

        To use a saying from academic conferences. I’m fine with you throwing out my data, but first show me yours.

      • Yeah, the study does nothing to address injuries/shortened career that arise later than the 90 minutes on that turf.

  3. The playoffs basically render the regular season meaninless so players feel like they can take a match off whenever they want. If Henry does’t care about an important regular season MLS match why should anyone else care? MLS will remain a Micky Mouse league as long at it contiues to have playoffs and plastic pitches.

    • I agree with your “plastic pitches” comment but the playoffs are here to stay (though I don’t like them). It makes no sense to play Henry and Olave and risk losing them for the next three matches, plus the playoffs. The fake grass studies mean nothing as some posters have already explained how it affects the body and recovery time.

  4. Soccer is better on artificial grass. We’re not still playing with balls made of vulcanized rubber. MLS needs to embrace progress and move all fields to turf.

  5. Why change to grass? If top players don’t want to play better for our team.
    I am going to go out on a limb and guess most who complain about the turf have never actually played on the newer stuff.

  6. Same thing time and again. Grass won’t work in clink on the most basic level. Seattle is not going to give up a stadium that size so Henry can travel and play once every two years. We would love grass but we share our stadium so its isn’t up to us. These players are professionals, if they can’t adapt, its their fault, not ours.

    • So take some of the gazillions of dollars your owners have, and continue to rake in from their perpetually record-setting crowds, and do what just about every other team has done or is trying to do — build your own stadium. It’s not like the Sounders would have to go hat in hand to the government. Heck, they just agreed to pay Dempsey a fortune. The issue goes beyond Henry and Olave. It’s about being top-class in the most basic of categories: the playing surface.

      • Exactly. Paul Allen pays $200 million/year just to operate his biggest yacht. That’s a billion dollars every five years. The Sounders owners can easily afford to build a proper SSS for their team.

      • but where would it go? We have a prime downtown location right now, its part of why we can draw so many, its easy to get there. If we were to build a SSS it would have to be out in the burbs and that would kill it.

  7. Pathetic. And what if the MLS Cup final is at Seattle and RBNY have to go there (I know, wishful thinking)? He going to sit out that one too?

    • Yeah… I mean, I completely get focusing on the big picture, but if you’re not going to play in the biggest game of the regular season, one which could go a long way towards determining the team’s playoff fate… then what’s the point? Why not at least come out and dress, and give it 15-20 minutes if the team needs a goal late? Is he really more likely to get hurt in 15 minutes on turf vs. 90 minutes on grass?

  8. Well there go the red bulls chances of the shield. Why would Henry not still travel…if they are down a goal with 10 mins left he cant even run around for that long? I understand thats a long flight, but would think he’d still want to be with the team for support.

    • Why would he not travel even if he wasn’t going to dress? You’d think the guy would want to be there with his teammates in a big game.

  9. I wonder how Dempsey likes playing on the turf? He seems to have been out a few times already since coming to Seattle and I can’t see it being good for him long term.

  10. Why? So prima donnas being paid over $100,000 per game can complain? So fans who don’t like Seattle anyway will have to find something else to complain about?

    For $100K I’d play on concrete for 90 minutes! But FIFA (you remember them, right?) says Seattle’s turf is good enough even for WC qualifiers, so settle down out there…

  11. Hey, Seattle — you’re showing the country how to be a real soccer town, but you forgot a pretty important thing. Get some real grass.

    • Seattles stadium is like Shelby Cobra kit car… looks real, sounds real, but it’s just plastic… Until they change it, it will always be a HUGE blemish.

    • Or at least get turf as good as Portland’s. Henry apparently is OK with playing on that. What’s the excuse for not installing that turf?

      • The NFL still rules. Even if the Sounders were able to consistently sell out the stadium, the Seahawks would continue to be the economic driver—TV money talks.

        I’m fairly certain that the current field meets FIFA standards, but the US (and the players and the owners of the players) would still prefer that they play on a crappy grass field laid over the even crappier phony grass (or in the case of the US-Panama game, laid over concrete—I think they were replacing the phony turf with another crappy phony turf field back in June).

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