The New York Red Bulls have battled through a series of injuries during the 2016 season, but that hasn’t stopped them from challenging for first place in the MLS Eastern Conference. Now, with several previously-injured players set to return from injury, the Red Bulls are getting healthy at just the right time, with the playoffs around the corner.
“Ronald [Zubar]’s fully in training, so that’s good.” Marsch began, “Danny Royer’s making his way back, you know, he’s not in to training yet but he’s been out on the field. Justin Bilyeu is still recovering from concussion symptoms. But that means that we’re really close, other than our long-term injuries, to getting guys back and ready for the playoff push.”
The near-returns of Zubar and Bilyeu are welcome news for the Red Bulls. The team’s back line has been under assault from a litany of injuries this year, with nearly every defender on the roster missing time, including several long-term ailments. Trotting out a consistent back four in the last few matches of this season could prove valuable as healthy defenders begin to gel for the first time this season. Royer’s return can add an additional punch to the arsenal of a confident team in attack.
Adding to the positive news is the return of Kemar Lawrence and Sacha Kljestan from international duty. Both found success with Jamaica and the U.S. Men’s National Team, respectively, and both expected to be fully fit and ready for this weekend’s match against the Columbus Crew, as Marsch downplayed the possibility of either missing time.
“No, they should be ready for 90,” Marsch said. “They’re both pretty fit right now and in a good way.”
So nearing full health and expecting the full return of their two international stars this weekend against the Crew, it’s safe to say that the Red Bulls feel confident heading into this weekend’s match against the Crew. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Red Bulls are overlooking their next match against an often difficult opponent.
“The past month they’ve been pretty good” says Marsch of the Red Bulls upcoming opponents. “They play on Thursday night, that means if they get a result there they’re still alive and as long as they’re alive they’ll keep fighting for every inch. So we’ll watch that game, we’ll see how things play out, we’ll be careful to look at where they are as a group and then figure out a way to make sure when they come to Red Bull Arena we put them in a hard game and figure out a way to push things on our end.”