Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The New York Red Bulls could be missing two of their best players when they take the pitch at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in five days time.
In addition to losing forward Bradley Wright-Phillips for this Sunday’s clash against the Seattle Sounders due to a hamstring injury, the turf surface of the field is likely to keep Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave and forward Thierry Henry from making the trip to the west coast, due to age and the potential to suffer injuries on the surface.
“It’s not something that (Henry) just doesn’t like turf,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said in his weekly conference call. “He has a chronic issue with his Achilles and if I’m being told by the doctors that it could be damaged, then it’s a situation that, are you going to sacrifice or take that risk for one game, no matter what the significance is, when there’s still three more left to play in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs?”
Petke echoed many of the same statements when asked about Olave’s chances to play, which will likely leave the Red Bulls down three starters in a match between the top two teams in the league in terms of points.
“Both of those guys are huge question marks and I’ll probably lean more towards no they will not be going,” Petke said.
Here are some more notes from Petke’s weekly conference call:
SAM LIKELY TO RETURN VS. SOUNDERS
While it looks like the Red Bulls will be missing some of their key players for the match against the Sounders, one player who has missed the last two weeks due to injury is set for his return to action this weekend.
Lloyd Sam suffered a groin injury one day before the Red Bull’s 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on September 14, an injury that came at a tough time just as he was starting to make the right midfielder spot his own. Despite not coming back as quick as the coaching staff hoped, Petke said that unless something unexpected happens, Sam will be available for selection on Sunday.
“Lloyd was slated to pretty much potentially start against Dallas this weekend and at the last minute he just didn’t feel right. You can’t force the player out if he’s not feeling right. He wasn’t 100 percent in his mind and he didn’t feel comfortable or confident and I give him credit for relaying that.
“Unless something crazy has happened in the last day or so, he’ll be again full on (in practice) this week and hopefully 100 percent healthy and available to go vs. Seattle.”
WRIGHT-PHILLIPS COULD BE OUT LONG-TERM
Two days on from Bradley Wright-Phillips’ hamstring injury, Petke was still in the dark over how serious it would be.
Midway through the first half, Wright-Phillips collapsed after pulling up while sprinting after a through ball, forcing him off the field. It was the English forward’s fourth consecutive start, but Petke didn’t sound confident that Wright-Phillips would return in the near future.
““It would be a miracle if he was available this week,” Petke said. “You saw he was in full stride and the way he went down. I know he’ll be out this weekend, but beyond that I don’t want to speculate and put numbers down. But I don’t think this is a one week out type of thing.”
Wright-Phillips is due to have an MRI on the hamstring on Tuesday, and the results will be disseminated soon after.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
- Roy Miller is ruled out for this weekend but Petke said he hopes that Miller will be back in light training next week.
- Petke said aside from the normal aches and pains from a game, Cahill seems to be doing fine and he expects him to be available on Sunday.
- Petke was highly complimentary of the atmosphere on display in Seattle week in and week out, saying, “Environment is unreal there. It’s as close to European soccer as you can get in this country. Those fans are phenomenal, loyal, and it’s exciting.”
What do you think of these notes? Do you see the Red Bulls winning without Henry or Olave? Do you see Sam stepping back into the starting XI? Worried about the Wright-Phillips injury?
Share your thoughts below.