Red Bulls Notes: Bover a work in progress, Petke dismisses travel woes excuse, and more

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Portland Timbers

Photo courtesy of New York Red Bulls

By FRANCO PANIZO

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Ruben Bover is going to be a work in progress.

The young New York Red Bulls winger and head coach Mike Petke admitted to such following the club’s practice on Wednesday, their first since their season-opening 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers this past Sunday. The 20-year-old Bover – who formerly went by Ruben Izquierdo – started in that game but was not overly impressive, as he struggled to find the rhythm and make an impact in his debut.

Still, Petke has faith that better is still to come from Bover.

“Putting him out there shows the faith we have in him and what we think he can bring,” said Petke on Wednesday. “He obviously was a bit nervous and he wasn’t as sharp at times as usual, but he also showed glimpses of things and we know what he has to work on that’s being quicker with the ball at his feet, can’t hold onto it too long, especially in a league like this where if you get caught with the ball on your feet you’re going to get cleaned out and counter attacked.

“But I think it was a good experience for him and it’s going to be good for him moving forward.”

Bover agreed. The Spanish midfielder is still acclimatizing himself to MLS and all of the nuances that differentiate it from most other leagues in the world, including dealing with the long travel and speed of the game.

“It’s different to Spain. Here it’s quicker. The first 10, 20 minutes of the game is not barely football. It’s just going side to side,” said Bover, who shares the same agency as Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry. “But at the moment I feel okay. Slowly, I’m going to get better and get more used to it so just keep working.”

Here is more news from Red Bulls’ practice:

PETKE REFUSES TO BLAME TRAVEL WOES 

Henry may be willing to be openly critical of the travel woes the Red Bulls experienced prior to departing for Portland last week, but Petke is not. Petke refused to blame the Red Bulls’ second-half letdown against the Timbers on their delayed departure from the New York area.

“I’m not about excuses, I don’t want my team making excuses,” said Petke. “At the end of the day, everybody has to travel. … All teams go through stuff like that and that’s the reason why I’m not making excuses for it because it’s not an isolated incident.

“Teams go through that every year, so we’re not the only ones. It is what it is.”

PETKE GIVES REASON FOR CLUB RETURNING TO EAST COAST

On the subject of travel, Petke explained why the Red Bulls opted to leave Portland and head back home despite having to take another long flight back to the west coast this weekend to take on the San Jose Earthquakes.

“The reason why we did not was first and foremost that we were away so much this preseason that (staying on the west coast) would have been counterproductive,” said Petke. “We had a full week (back home) and it wasn’t a Sunday-Saturday (set of games). If we were going back to play Saturday, we most likely would have stayed but we were able to get a red eye so we were home right away and be home with the families and back into your environment that you’re comfortable with.

“We checked with the medical department to make sure it wasn’t a physical thing and they said ‘Nope, because of that extra day you should be fine,’ so that’s not an issue at all.”

OTHER NOTES FROM WEDNESDAY’S TRAINING SESSION:

  • Assistant coach Robin Fraser was not at training on Wednesday as he stayed on the west coast to tend to personal matters. Head of scouting Cris da Silva helped run the session.
  • Trialist Peguy Luyindula looked sharper during a full-field scrimmage than he has in weeks. On one play, Luyindula brought down a ball from the air with a deft touch before turning and hitting a great through ball in behind the defense.
  • Petke said a decision on Luyindula and Marius Obekop, the club’s other trialist, will be made soon.

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What did you think of Bover’s MLS debut? Agree with Petke’s refusal to lay blame on the Red Bulls’ travel woes? Agree with the club returning home instead of staying on the west coast?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Red Bulls Notes: Bover a work in progress, Petke dismisses travel woes excuse, and more

  1. Eugene says:

    It’s just bizarre that Petke is saying one thing and Henry is saying another. So if it wasn’t the travel, then what was the reason for the team’s let down in the 2nd half of the game, according to Petke? And why wasn’t the team properly prepared for the game?

    • CENCALI says:

      really? Im sure plenty of teams that have had zero travel time before games blow leads in the second half. its quite simple, not bizarre. one person makes an excuse while the other doesnt

    • kpugs says:

      Why does there have to be some excuse? There is none. They played as bad a second half as Portland played a first. Portland was not fishing for excuses.

      It amazes me that you’re still looking for an answer or trying to blame a delayed flight.

      • Eugene says:

        Henry said they weren’t properly prepared and blamed it on the flight. If it’s not the fault of the flight, than it’s Petke’s fault that he didn’t get his team there a day in advance so that they could practice and train, working on their game plan and getting adjusted to time and climate.

        I think Petke would have been better off not saying anything and letting this one slide. Now it looks like he and Henry are not on the same page, which is more worrisome.

        It’s looking like flying back to NYC may have been a mistake also, since the team didn’t train for two days and only trained again on Wednesday. I can understand one day for regeneration, but what happened on Tuesday? So there will be only three days or less of training this week before their next game (Wed, Thurs, travel Fri, train Sat, game day on Sun), assuming they don’t run into a problem with the incoming storm. I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect this may be a problem and I’m wondering why Petke can’t get the logistics squared away so that his team can focus on training and preparation.

  2. Phlub says:

    “Side to side” meaning end to end I assume with that Portland match at least? Interesting to hear him say MLS is “quicker” than La Liga.

    Also, I miss Conor Lade. Hope he gets some PT this year. Lots of potential, but he’s still young.

  3. Dillon says:

    Of course Petke will say it was not an issue. As a coach it is a terrible motivational technique to allow your players to blame some uncontrollable factor for their poor play. Even if the travel was a problem, Petke would be an idiot to admit it.

  4. SD says:

    Can someone explain why he is going by Bover, instead of Izquierdo? Is Bover his first last name or second last name?

  5. CH says:

    “It’s different to Spain. Here it’s quicker. The first 10, 20 minutes of the game is not barely football. It’s just going side to side,”
    It’s different than in Spain. Here is faster. The first 10-20 minutes there is hardly any football. Just running back and forth.

  6. Lazio Curva Sud says:

    Ahh, the same “agency” as Henry, or in other words, represented by Henry’s best buddy. Now we know how a random second division player finds himself imported to New York. I wonder when Henry will make his final decision about signing Luyindola and Ruthven.

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