Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill will not be in the New York Red Bulls’ starting lineup this weekend and there is a chance that Juninho won’t be either.
Having recently returned from a calf strain that forced him to miss one game already, Juninho is somewhat of a concern ahead of the Red Bulls’ battle with the undefeated Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium on Saturday. Juninho is healthy and available to play but Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke has not yet decided if the Brazilian midfielder will start given that he suffered the aforementioned injury days after playing on the turf at JELD-WEN Field – the first time in his career that he had played on an artificial surface.
“He feels good, he wants to play, I project him playing,” said Petke after Wednesday’s practice on turf fields. “I haven’t made a decision on when exactly that’s going to be, whether it’s going to be a full game, to start the game, to come off the bench. But any time you have someone like him on the field who wants to be there, it’s a positive.”
Henry will not play in Montreal due to the MCL sprain he sustained in last weekend’s scoreless draw with D.C. United while Cahill is on international duty with Australia.
Here are some more Red Bulls notes from Wednesday’s training session:
MORENO A CANDIDATE TO START VS. IMPACT
When it comes to young forward Amando Moreno, Petke is torn as to whether giving him too much too soon is beneficial for his development. Still, there is a chance that the 17-year-old could get his first start as a professional against the Impact due to his recent impressive showings in training and Henry’s absence.
“He’s 17 years-old. There’s times when I think age [doesn't] mean a thing and there’s other times I say, ‘How can I throw this kid out there,'” said Petke. “Montreal might be one of those times. We’ve been floating things around. I think that he’s an option. I think that he’s earned a look with how well he’s played in practice and how hard he’s played and his attitude has been great.
“I think there’s no better experience than putting him in certain situations at times and this might be a situation [to start him].”
Moreno has made late cameos off the bench in the last two games for the Red Bulls.
PETKE PLEASED WITH HOLGERSSON’S RESPONSE TO BENCHING
Markus Holgersson was not expecting to be on the bench at the start of the season, but his response to not playing is exactly what Petke was looking for.
Holgerrson earned his first under Petke in this past weekend’s scoreless draw with D.C. United, and the Swedish centerback looked as solid as he has in months. Holgersson looked comfortable next to centerback partner Jamison Olave – which was not the case in preseason – and helped limit Dwayne De Rosario and the rest of United’s attack to just four shots with some well-timed interventions and clearances.
“I saw exactly what I hoped from him,” said Petke via a conference call on Tuesday. “I saw it from Brandon [Barklage] in San Jose in spurts: someone who is a bit angry, someone who thinks they should be starting and they worked their butts off throughout practice the last couple of weeks and they earned it to get there spot in there. I got the reaction that I wanted to out of them.
“He did well in the times he was challenged, he did well with the ball at his feet and he’s a great player.”
Think Petke should start Juninho against the Impact? Should Moreno be given the nod in Montreal? Were you pleased with Holgersson’s performance vs. D.C. United?
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