By DAN KARELL
The importance of Tim Cahill to the New York Red Bulls could not have been on a bigger display last Saturday, when he scored both goals in the team’s 2-1 win vs. Toronto FC, a performance that earned him MLS Player of the Week.
The Australian international had been called out by fans and the media alike for his lack of scoring so far this season, but once again, manager Mike Petke laughed off those suggestions, praising Cahill’s versatility and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
“Tim continues to do exactly what is asked of him, times 100,” Petke said during his weekly media conference call on Tuesday afternoon.
“The fact that Tim won player of the week this week is very deserved, but also laughable to me,” Petke added. “No one seems to look at the little things throughout 90 minutes, because if that was the case, Tim would have been player of the week a couple of times this year.”
Despite traveling halfway across the globe to play two matches in March with the Australian National Team, Cahill has played in all but one of the Red Bulls matches this season, and has played a number of positions including forward, attacking midfielder, left midfielder, and deep lying midfielder.
“Tim to me can play any number of positions,” Petke said. “I’m able to have flexibility with him because of his understand of the game, and because of his unselfishness when it comes to the team.
“He’ll do whatever I ask him to. He’s invaluable.”
Here are some more notes to check out from the Red Bulls conference call:
MILLER MAKING MOST OF SECOND CHANCE
One of the brighter stories in the last few weeks in Red Bulls camp has been the play of Roy Miller. The Costa Rican was at the center of controversy after the first two weeks of the season when his blunders in the back cost the team points, but since the start of April, Miller has exceeded the expectations of fans and media alike.
“He (Miller) went right back to work, cleared his head a little bit on the international break, and came back and worked his butt off for over two weeks in practice,” Petke said.
The 28-year-old assisted on Cahill’s first goal last Saturday, and overall looked good on both sides of the ball. But more importantly for Petke, it was Miller’s insistence on putting the team first that gave him another chance to make it back to the starting lineup.
“We had talks, and he was never in a situation of the ‘me me me, why am I not playing’”, Petke explained. “He was more like ‘I’m ready if you need me, I understand whats going on.’”
PETKE READY TO MOVE PAST GOAL ALLOWED
The happiest person at BMO Field last Saturday was likely Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Robles was at fault for the lone Toronto goal coming in the 83rd minute, coming off his line and failing to get the ball before it ended up in his net.
“Luis made a decision, came out full force, the thing that upset me initially is not that he came out, but that he came out into 20 guys at the top of the 18-yard box,” Petke said. “He made a decision and he stuck with it, but the decision obviously was not right.”
Despite the comments, Petke ensure moments later that he isn’t looking into making a goalkeeper change as the team prepares for the Columbus Crew this Saturday.
“It happened and we’ll move on from it,” Petke stated. “Luis (Robles) has had some very key moments for us this year, like all players he has a couple of mistakes.
“We are very happy that we got out of there with 3 points, and we move on and look forward to the next game.”
NEWS AND NOTES
- The Red Bulls reserve match was postponed on Saturday due to a scheduling conflict with Toronto FC, as they were preparing for the Canadian Championship semifinals second leg match against Montreal.
- Both Ryan Meara and Kevin Hartman got 45 minutes each in an intra-squad scrimmage in place of the Reserve League match.
- Petke said he was happy and very optimistic about the play of the back four recently, winning three of their last four games and two in a row on the road.
- Unrelated to the question asked, Petke gave an interesting look into how he has matured as a manager nine weeks into the 2013 season. “I’ve come to realize something that I always didn’t understand but never really thought about, it’s that I really can care less about how beautiful it is, how perfect we play soccer, how it happens. No, it’s about results.”
What do you make of these developments? How do you feel Cahill has played this season? Do you believe that Petke should consider a goalkeeper change after Robles’ mistake?
Share your thoughts below.