Red Bulls depth to be tested in challenging stretch

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                                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

BY DYLAN BUTLER

When Juan Carlos Osorio looked to improve his team's depth during the off-season, it was stretches like this the New York Red Bulls coach had in mind. New York will play the first of four matches in a 10-day stretch tonight at CommunityAmerica Ballpark against a Kansas City Wizards team unbeaten in three straight matches after opening the season with back-to-back losses.

The Red Bulls return home to face Eastern Conference foe D.C. United on Sunday, quickly turn around and fly to California to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday and then meet the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center next Saturday.

"That's why we put so much effort into making the team, because we tried to have two players per position so when games are scheduled almost back-to-back, then we hopefully have good options to choose from," Osorio said.

With the hopes of competing on three different fronts (MLS, Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League), there are more stretches like this likely later in the season.

"I think he's giving everyone a chance because the team is really strong right now," Danleigh Borman said. "We have a lot of players who can play, so he's rotating the team. We have a lot of games these two weeks coming up."

Osorio hinted at changes to his starting lineup following a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake last Saturday and those changes could come on the flank with both Borman and Matthew Mbuta training with the first team this week. Borman came off the bench against RSL to replace struggling Khano Smith and with Alfredo Pacheco locking down the left back position, Borman is the likely candidate to get the nod in favor of Smith. Mbuta could replace Dane Richards, who is also in an early-season funk.

Rookie Jeremy Hall will be serving a one-game suspension for his straight red card against RSL, but Carlos Johnson is back after his one-game ban and should start at right back.

One player who is not available is Spanish midfielder Albert Celades, who is out with a hamstring strain unitl the Galaxy game at the earliest.

"We are monitoring him very carefully and very closely and (Red Bulls trainer) Rick (Guter) is on top of the situation," Osorio said. "Albert is a top professional with plenty of years of experience, so we all sit down and talk and at the moment I think he is doing well. I have not set myself for a specific day, but I think maybe for next weekend he'll be in contention."

Danny Cepero is fully fit after his Kei Kamara-induced concussion and while Osorio said both he and Conway are in contention, the favorite to start tonight would be Conway, especially coming off a good performance against RSL.

"It is a difficult decision," Osorio said. "As I've always said, I value Danny's contributionand what he has done for the club, but I also know Jon had a very good comeback and good game. Hopefully we get the decision right."

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11 Responses to Red Bulls depth to be tested in challenging stretch

  1. ag nigrin says:

    Good stuff Dylan. Thanks! If the Bulls can win 2 of the 3 road games I will be impressed!

  2. The Faux says:

    How healthy is Angel?

  3. OgreDave says:

    this stretch of games will test if osorio knows what he is doing, as well as if the team has what it takes to win. We will see…. GO RED BULLS!!! Forza Metro!!

  4. Coach says:

    Yeah, the team is 22 deep, but the problem is most of thse guys wouldn’t start on a good MLS team.

  5. MVK says:

    redbull will be cut with wiz tonight, not a tasty drink

  6. mike from linden says:

    shut up MVK and everyone who thinks like him. yes we are named after a energy drink but who are your teams owners? are they as big as red bull? the only teams that have better owners are New England (Gilette) and Galaxy (forgot who the company is but I know they are respectable).

  7. JoeW says:

    I would think that JCO will effectively blow off the USOC qualifier against DC United. Maybe with another schedule in another year, eh….but in this case, 4 games in 10 days with 3 on the road, it makes sense to concede the USOC qualifier match. And remember, with 3 road games during those 10 days, that is effectively only about 2 days of practice in those 10 days (because you eliminate game days as well as probably 4 days due to travel). At a minimum you figure that Angel doesn’t play in that match (as a way to rest him during a tough run of games). Because of the lack of practice time, this would be absolutely the worst time for JCO to engage in position swaps, new roles, formation variations.

    So effectively then, it becomes 3 games in 10 days for most of the team (tough but manageable).

    And on the positive side for RBNY, they have the potential to be a strong counter side (with all of that attacking speed). So if the team has dead legs by game #3, they’ve got an option to hang back, try to defend in depth and look for a break to exploit. This team is probably better situated to play that kind of ball if fatigue dictates it than any other side in MLS other than maybe Seattle.

  8. gerald says:

    Oduro, Woly, Khano/borman, Mbuta/Richards, Sassano, Ubi, etc

    Hey that sounds better than the lineup we put out last year for the cup match

  9. mEtRo BoY 4eVer! says:

    Sorry ives but i gotta post this one to! link to youtube.com

    Vamos Metro! Love ya whither we won or lose! we support the metro and thats the we like it!

  10. CoachK says:

    I for one am happy to see Mbuta play He is under rated big time watch and be surprised.. WAAAY better than Khano Smith?

    2 Time for Wolly off the bench 20-30 min You will get alot of attitude and energy from him. Way better than Oduro who has speed but nothing else really?

    Finally time to kiss and make up with Petke After all why did we sign him He is slow but still solid and with 2 quick outside backs will be just fine!

    Coach K

  11. ag nigrin says:

    JoeW..Cup Game is vs San Jose…