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The New York Red Bulls may be forced to face the defending champion Houston Dynamo without midfielder Seth Stammler, who has been sidelined this week with a right knee injury that could force him to miss the MLS playoff opener at Giants Stadium on Saturday.
"Seth, unfortunately, is day to day," Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "We allow him to do more individualized training sessions and then in the day or two before the game he participates (with the team).
"Up to this point, he is struggling."
Stammler has been playing with knee pain since suffering a bone bruise in his right knee in September, an injury that has limited his ability to participate in full practices. Stammler re-aggravating the injury in the team’s 5-2 loss to Chicago last Thursday, and was forced to leave that match at halftime.
If he can’t start, Osorio may be forced to start erratic and card-prone Argentine midfielder Juan Pietravallo, who actually played very well for the Red Bulls in their 3-0 win against Houston on Aug. 24.
Not all the injury news was grim for the Red Bulls. Defender Diego Jimenez hasbeen training with the team this week and looks like a strong candidate to start in central defense alongside Andrew Boyens after not playing in the Chicago loss because of concerns about a knee injury he was dealing with.
"He is feeling better," Osorio said of Jimenez. "There is a little discrepency in the length of his legs and every now and then that causes him a problem.
"He’s feeling a lot better and I think he’s in contention (to start)."