Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By CARL SETTERLUND
The New York Red Bulls have a game in hand over three of the five Eastern Conference teams currently in playoff position, but the club is set to face a hectic eight-day stretch that could go a long way in determining their postseason chances.
Unfortunately for the Red Bulls (7-8-10), they will be without the influential Tim Cahill for at least this Saturday’s game against Sporting Kansas City and perhaps for the rematch of last weekend’s loss to D.C. United as well.
Cahill, who has been called to the Australian national team, is set to feature for the Socceroos in friendlies against Belgium on Thursday and Saudi Arabia next Monday. That leaves Cahill with under 48 hours to get back to New Jersey for a home fixture against D.C. next Wednesday.
Red Bulls coach Mike Petke was asked on a Tuesday conference call whether Cahill would only be missing this weekend’s game.
“I’m going to have to check, but to be honest with you, I was under the impression it would be more than that,” Petke said.
Petke was also asked whether New York’s other two offensive stars — Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry — could play in all three games coming up.
“We take that on a game-to-game thing,” Petke said. “Perhaps it is a lot to ask of them, but I know those are two guys who always want to play and they’re also two guys that are honest on how they’re feeling.”
The second-year coach noted that recent trade acquisition Saer Sene — who scored his first Red Bulls in a CONCACAF Champions League game last week — might factor in.
“We’re going to have to utilize everything we have,” Petke said.
PETKE SHOULDERS BLAME FOR ROBLES MISCUE VERSUS D.C.
While Petke called the second goal of New York’s 2-0 loss last Sunday to D.C. a “garbage time” goal, on Tuesday he took some of the pressure off goalkeeper Luis Robles on United’s 57th-minute opener.
Robles was caught out in nowhere-land on Luis Silva’s go-ahead tally, which came almost directly off of a D.C. goal kick. Petke said he spoke with Robles about the goal on Monday and that Robles took responsibility for the inauspicious sequence.
“Not many players do that nowadays, not many players stand up and take accountability,” Petke said. “I’m proud of him for doing that. Having said that, I don’t think he should take blame at all. If anybody should take blame it should be me for many reasons.”
Petke said he had told Robles to play a high line, and to come off his line for through balls, such as the Fabian Espindola header that advanced the ball to Silva.
DUVALL HAMSTRING INJURY NOT SERIOUS
Rookie right back Chris Duvall had to be helped off with a hamstring injury in the 63rd minute of the D.C. game, but it appears the injury wasn’t as bad as it first looked and he will likely be ready to return to this weekend.
Petke attributed the muscle injury to the normal rigors of a rookie adjusting to an MLS season, saying, “He was going to hit a point where he got tired, and that’s what happened.”
NO WORRIES ABOUT LACK OF SCORING LAST WEEKEND
Despite getting shutout for the second time this month, Petke said he was able to take away positives from last weekend’s performance in which the Red Bulls outshot D.C. 18 to 9.
“We had countless opportunities, legitimate chances to score,” Petke said. “We put ourselves in those positions to score and they just didn’t fall for us.”
Clarifying what he meant, Petke said, “We’re not talking about a 30-yard shot that hit the crossbar – that’s a one out of 10 you’ll almost score on that. We’re talking inside the box.”
I agree with you guys…Cahill just doesn’t seem to care anymore. Maybe it’s best to part ways. I also know it’s been said, but Hans Petke really needs to start making meaningful and TIMELY subs, not just subs 80 minutes and on…
I heard during the world cup that Cahill was going back home to play in the A league. Not sure if that is still on the table though.
I heard the same thing about Cahill going home and since the RB’s haven’t mentioned anything about him staying during their drive to get me to repurchase my seats for next season; I’m assuming he’s still leaving. I have serious doubts about where this team is headed and since there never seems to be any consistency from their management, I’m nervous for their future.
DCLee, I wish I had the info to the questions you raised in your reply. As a ST holder, it looks as if next year the RBs are starting with zero DP’s. Does anyone else feel like me?, for every step forward the RB’s take,(last years season long Shield run), they take two steps back, (first round knock out in last year’s playoffs and this year’s dismal performance thus far)
There is still time and hopefully the ownership will reinvest in new DPs. It is trange that you are not hearing much on that front though.
At this point I’d be more worried about losing Chris Duvall (or 8 other guys) than Cahill.
Unfortunately, I feel the same way.
You guys hit the nail on the head…Tim has not been playing with his heart for NYRB this season perhaps because he knows he will be gone soon?
What does the future hold for Cahill and Henry? I’m surprised they haven’t filled that 3rd DP spot yet. Anyone know why that is?
I question Cahill’s decision to leave the team for a couple of friendlies. And poor Petke — his comments about international call-ups and similar issues always give the impression that he is the last one in the organization to know all the details.
Funny how Petke takes the blame for Robles — that’s a bit extreme. In reality, of course, we all know it was on Segakya.
If you’re looking for a silver lining, it may be that Luyindula will have to play in the midfield in front of McCarty. He certainly offers more playmaking creativity that Cahill, who, for all his great attributes, seems like a man without a position on this team.
Should Petke instead be looking at a Cahill-BWP pairing, with Henry in the midfield? Or is Henry, by temperament and physical status, not capable of doing the defending that even an attacking MF must do?
Blah blah…what’s up with the excuses all the time? We just plain simply don’t bring our A-game away from home. And at home, our opponents have learned to be patient and wait for that illustrious brain fart that continues.