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Miazga, Lawrence likely to start as Red Bulls defense limps into home opener

Matt Miazga New York Red Bulls 27

photo by Stew Milne/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

HANOVER, N.J. — Already dealing with the challenge of having to come together as a unit due to the introduction of several new faces, the New York Red Bulls’ defense is set to undergo at least one more change this weekend.

Injuries to starting centerback Ronald Zubar and left back Roy Miller have the Red Bulls’ back line limping into their home opener on Sunday against D.C. United, and there is a chance both could miss the game. Miller has already been ruled out due to a knee injury picked up in training on Monday, and the hamstring Zubar injured in the season-opening draw vs. Sporting Kansas City is improving but not quite ready yet.

If both are unavailable to go this weekend, New York’s revamped defense will be missing half of its starters from Week 1. Head coach Jesse Marsch is holding out hope that only Miller will miss the rivalry match vs. D.C. – Zubar’s recovery is “day-to-day” – but it sounds as if both centerback Matt Miazga and recently-signed fullback Kemar Lawrence will get the nod.

“Those are both important guys, Ronald and Roy, but I think that all along we’ve known that Matt’s a talented young guy and we want to find ways to give him opportunities, so obviously it’s coming at a good moment for him,” said Marsch on Wednesday. “Then, at left back we think that Kemar Lawrence has a lot of potential and he fits the way we want to play and he’s been very good here since he’s been here. We’re excited about the opportunity for him to play.”

In Week 1, Marsch fielded a back line that included two new starters and the Red Bulls went on to post a 1-1 road draw against Sporting KC. Second-year fullback Chris Duvall started on the right flank and Miller on the left while Zubar and Damien Perrinelle were deployed centrally.

Some quality chances were given up in the match at Sporting Park, and while that might not seem to bode well for New York’s chances this weekend, the club remains confident in its other players.

“It doesn’t matter who’s out there, the gameplan is still the same,” goalkeeper Luis Robles told SBI. “They understand what our defensive philosophy is about. They’ve been working on it over the last six weeks, and it’s something we don’t expect to drop off by any means.”

Comments

  1. If we get any points in this game (a big if), it will again be due to individual heroics from guys like Robles and Sam, despite Curtis’s idiocy.

    Reply
  2. Gee who could have guessed that management’s decision to ignore glaring problems on the back line during the off season would lead to this…

    …oh I don’t know…THE ENTIRE METRO FAN BASE.

    Slow clap for Ali Curtis who spent more time in the off season playing “mine is bigger than yours” rather than addressing the needs of the club.

    A “300 page plan.” Yay! “Analytics!” Yay! “Up-tempo!” Yay. “Sophisticated style!” Yay!

    A mountain of central midfielders and no defenders! Yay!

    Reply
    • Thanks,…made me laugh this morning.

      I will be supporting the team but with Ali G (resident corporate lackey) at the helm, I don’t envision any positive long term future for the club.

      DC is going to be a tall order this weekend and patience is in short supply.

      Reply
    • Too true. Center backs and left mid were obvious gaping holes everyone knew about very early, and all Ali Cu*tis cared about was cutting costs and giving jobs to friends and fellow Duke alumns. His lack of experience and scumbag personality showing through.

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    • This is the impact of cost cutting. Shedding $10m+ in salary, losing three of your best players, and barely lifting a finger to replace them. Sacha, Felipe and Zubar are not enough to replace Henry, Olave and Cahill. And as flimsy and paper thin as the backline is, they are even thinner at striker. No one to play alongside BWP and what happens if he’s injured or they want to rest him? Is Ali’s “really sophisticated” plan relying on BWP playing 90 minutes in all 34 matches?

      Reply

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