Injuries thin out Red Bulls striking options ahead of Union match

Colorado Rapids v New York Red Bulls

BY DAVE MARTINEZ

The Red Bulls are knee deep into a 253-minute scoreless streak. If they hope to solve that dilemma, they may have to do it without their two main strikers.

Team captain Thierry Henry is still recovering from a knock suffered against D.C. United while Fabian Espindola is a question mark as team officials await word on the severity of his hamstring injury.

Henry is intent on being with the team’s starters against Philadelphia Saturday afternoon but is far from healthy.

“It’s one of the things I have to deal with throughout my career,” he told reporters after Thursday’s practice. “You play through the pain. Sometimes you can handle it and sometimes you can’t. As long as I can handle it, I will try to go out there or be available for the boss, but I came back a bit earlier than when I was supposed to be back. We’ll see how it goes. I’m taking it day by day.

“Where we are at the moment, you want to go out there and help. I am going to deal with the pain.”

Henry’s health issues magnify the team’s struggles this year as they remain winless through four matches. “It is (frustrating),” he said. “My knee went a bit – the type of thing you can’t prevent. I am going to try to put my head down, work and see when the pain is going to be more bearable. It’s a day by day thing.”

Just how severe is his MCL sprain? Henry is encouraged by the slightest of accomplishments on the training field. “I am actually happy I can run, turning, shooting,” he said. “I’ll try to push it and see what I can do.”

As for Espindola, his inclusion seems less likely. “Fabian, we are not ready to make a full decision on that,” head coach Mike Petke said. “Fabian is fit enough in life that he can afford to miss a day or two and still hold off until (Friday) to make a decision.

“I’m a huge risk-taker in life,” Petke continued. “I always have been with everything. With somebody’s health on my team, I’m not as much of a risk-taker.

“The best I could do is talk to my medical staff, which I trust very much, talk to the player and make the best decision that I feel is for first and foremost the player, his health and very close behind, the club.”

The Red Bulls cushioned their forward corps Thursday sending a conditional 2015 draft pick to the Colorado Rapids for 25-year-old American striker Andre Akpan. With Espindola and Henry possibly out of the picture, Peguy Luyindula, 33, becomes the senior striking option amongst a young core that includes Josue Martinez, 23, Rafhina, 21, 17 year old Academy product Amando Moreno and newcomer Akpan.

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9 Responses to Injuries thin out Red Bulls striking options ahead of Union match

  1. Chance says:

    Now would be a good time to sign Rodgers. Stop picking up these unknown quantities

  2. Rory says:

    Akpan was kind of quick but never really much of a threat at Colorado. frankly, I don’t think he’s a much better option. Wish the Rapids would have got a defender out of the deal, we’re kind of thin in the back, but it’s all okay, we’re deep at mascot.

  3. Boriuano #10 says:

    I agree with Chance, RBNY need to sign Luke. Akpan was quick but was a terrible finisher. He’s like a Conor Chin 2.0

  4. Adam M. says:

    Petke needs to push Juninho higher. He has been playing way too far away from goal and not getting shots. You might have heard about his shooting ability. This is a basic move that has to be done immediately. Strikers can pounce on rebounds and ensuing madness.

  5. The Imperative Voice says:

    MCLs are no joke, I sprained one of those on a tackle in indoor and for a few days my range of motion in my knee was gone, basically stiff. Weeks before I was jogging normally. No point in rushing that.

    There is an 800 lb. gorilla in the room named Kenny Cooper that no one’s mentioned. I like Henry but with players this old things like this are bound to happen, and it’s worth throwing out there that NY should have experience with players, and even specifically French older players, playing well and then hitting the wall physically. From a long term standpoint it made no sense to me to retain Henry and trade the leading scorer who’s in his 20s.

    The Rodgers talk smacks of desperation. I like Akpan as an interesting prospect but this might be his last chance before he dwindles down into the minors, 25 y/o, not a kid.

  6. TomG says:

    Meh. Not all that concerned. It’s bad, but short term and you can always push Cahill up to forward. Luyindula and Cahill wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you have to do it.

  7. slowleftarm says:

    Please no Luke Rodgers. That violent thug is an embarassment and I don’t want to cheer for a guy like that. Plus, from a purely soccer standpoint, surely we can do better than some guy from Shrewsbury Town’s reserves.

    • Chance says:

      That “violent thug” from Shrewsbury Town reserves wouldn’t have failed to finish the crazy good looks Peguy has been getting (and failing to finish).

  8. AzTeXan says:

    Can’t wait for the second New York team so the Red Bulls can joint the Mets/Jets/Nets black sheep sports team clan.