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Red Bulls Notes: Sam expected to return vs. Dynamo; Cahill, Miller called-up; and more

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Photo by Jim O’Connor/USA TODAY Sports


The New York Red Bulls expect to welcome back one of their most dynamic players when they take the field in a nationally televised matchup on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.

After missing the Red Bulls disastrous 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the LA Galaxy last Sunday evening, Lloyd Sam is expected to return to the lineup as the Red Bulls fight for their playoff lives in the final stretch of the season.

“Lloyd is looking good,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said in his weekly press conference. “Lloyd’s expected, knock on some wood, to be back for this weekend. His was a minor thing that we didn’t feel comfortable taking a chance with.”

Sam was subbed out in the 17th minute of the Red Bulls scoreless draw at Salvadorian club FAS last Wednesday with a hamstring injury. Following a season where he was used mostly as an impact substitute, Sam has become a key player for the Red Bulls, scoring three goals and adding eight assists in 28 starts this year.

While Sam is close to full fitness, the Red Bulls’ left-sided midfielder, Ambroise Oyongo is looking unlikely to return any time soon.

“Oyongo’s situation is a bit worse,” Petke said. “He’s got what looks to be a decent hamstring injury. He wasn’t even a question for the last game and I don’t believe he’ll be a question for this weekend. You never know. He’s young and he could have a heck of a recovery for a couple of days. But I’m not planning on having him this weekend.”

Here are some more notes from Petke’s press conference:


With one more FIFA date during the regular season, the Red Bulls are likely to be without at least two of their starters when they take on Toronto FC at home on Oct. 11, in the middle of a FIFA international break.

Petke spilled the beans on Tuesday by stating that paperwork had arrived for both Tim Cahill and Roy Miller to be called up to their respective national teams, Australia and Costa Rica. Petke also said that he thought the club had received paperwork for Oyongo to be called up again by Cameroon.

Considering it’s a crucial stretch of the season, Petke said he and the club would speak with the players, but that the final say is in their hands.

“For FIFA dates you can’t say no,” Petke said, “but we’re in talks with all the federations and players and hopefully we’ll figure this out. Would I like to lose these guys? No. But at the end of the day my hands are tied. It’s not up to me unfortunately.”


When the Red Bulls take on the Dynamo on Saturday, they’ll be without the team’s most dominant defender.

Jamison Olave picked up another yellow card in the 4-0 defeat to the Galaxy and will miss the upcoming match due to yellow-card accumulation, giving Petke an extra problem to think about this week as he prepares for the match.

“It’s a big loss for us, but we have by my count, five centerbacks, so we have more than enough to be able to pick from,” Petke said. “Now its about the next couple of days for somebody stepping up and claiming the spot as theirs. I have a decent idea of who (it will be).”


After starting Olave alongside Ibrahim Sekagya, Petke can turn to any of Armando, Matt Miazga or Damien Perrinelle to start on Saturday.


  • With three consecutive home games ahead and the Red Bulls currently in the final playoff spot, Petke claimed that the team’s destiny is “in our hands.”
  • Petke took offense to those calling the lineup against CD FAS a “B-Side,” claiming that it had plenty of experience and talent and that the Red Bulls dominated FAS. “We took (the game) seriously, and it just fall our way on the day, and we get on with it,” Petke said.
  • Petke said that he’ll speak to Chris Duvall on Wednesday to help raise his confidence after a rough performance at the Dynamo. “He learned a lot of valuable lessons in that game,” Petke said of Duvall. “He definitely had a ‘Welcome to MLS’ moment.”
  • After facing Landon Donovan for potentially the last time, outside of a possible MLS Cup final meeting, Petke stated that he wants Donovan to stay in the league because he elevates the stature of the league and sport in the USA.


What do you think of these notes? Do you see Sam helping the Red Bulls rebound from their tough loss? Who do you see replacing Olave in the lineup? How should the Red Bulls replace Cahill and Miller vs. Toronto FC?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I am getting tired of Cahill missing crucial RBNY games for friendlies. Are Miller and Oyongo leaving to play friendlies too, or are those competitive matches? Petke’s remarks about the decisions being up to the players suggest that they are friendlies. Cahill ha clearly chosen country over club, even for friendlies, and that is disappointing.

    • I place more of the blame on MLS for playing through FIFA dates, instead of the players. The Cameroon games are African cup of Nations qualifiers and Australia’s games are friendlies but they are preparing for the 2015 Asian Cup in January, which they are hosting. I can’t blame them for wanting their best player playing in the games leading up to such an important competition for them.

      These are crucial games in determining who makes the playoffs and they shouldn’t be held during FIFA dates when teams are not at full strength. MLS needs to fix this.

      • The question is how. Getting rid of truly unnecessary games, i.e.., in-season friendlies and even the All-Star Game, would open up some space in the calendar for MLS games, but would that be enough to allow MLS to suspend play during all FIFA dates?

      • Friendlies make a lot of money for the clubs and I’m a fan of the all-star game so I wouldn’t put them on the chopping block right away. It may have been more challenging this year with the world cup break to fit everything in. But in 2015, there will be no such problem. Maybe a few more midweek games would be necessary. If there’s a will there’s a way. At a minimum, there should be breaks for the September and October FIFA dates, since you want full strength teams in these important end of season games.

        As it is now, RBNY will take on Toronto in a huge game without Cahill and Toronto will not have Bradley, two of the league’s “marquee” type names. Granted the way Cahill has played this year, that isn’t a huge loss but still. That isn’t the way MLS should be operating.

      • What about the Gold Cup? Is that a FIFA-sanctioned tournament, so that FIFA’s rules about releasing players apply?

      • Sure, I guess there’s no way around that, or Copa America the next year because realistically you can’t break for a month. As long as we’re on the summer schedule, this will always be a problem. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a winter schedule is desirable or even possible.

        These late season dates should be respected though and I certainly don’t blame anyone for leaving to go play with their national team.

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