RBNY Notebook: Rodgers replacement from overseas?

Hans Backe and Thierry Henry

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UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – It seems increasingly likely that the New York Red Bulls will look overseas to replace forward Luke Rodgers before the transfer window slams shut on April 15.

RBNY are looking at several options to add to their group of forwards that has been left thin due to Juan Agudelo’s left knee injury and the termination of Rodgers’ contract late last week. And getting a player from within MLS before the deadline is proving difficult.

“More and more, we can almost say it is impossible in [the] US because no clubs do trades in this league,” head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “Probably, we will still try in US. If not, we will have to look in other continents.”

The Red Bulls are also still in the market for a third goalkeeper, even with rookie Ryan Meara impressing through the first month of the season as a starter and Jeremy Vuolo looking capable as a backup.

“We need a third one,” said Backe. “During a season, you need every session to be three to four goalkeepers. It can be a younger guy or a veteran. It depends what comes up and what is good enough for us.”

Still room for improvement

HIGHLIGHTS: New York 5, Montreal 2

The Red Bulls have talked about making Red Bull Arena a fortress this season. So far they have done just that.

New York have won their two opening home games, delighting the Red Bull faithful by outscoring opponents by a combined score of 9-3. Still, Backe sees room for improvement.

“We shouldn’t be too negative after scoring nine goals at home and picking up six points,” said Backe. “But we are competitive and we know that we just need to lift our game over 90 minutes. It’s not enough to do 45 well [because] if you play against a top team, they will punish you.”

Backe pleased to see Rodgers scoring debut

Rodgers may no longer be a Red Bulls player, but that doesn’t mean Backe is no longer keeping tabs on the diminutive English forward.

Backe spoke to Rodgers before and after his debut with Norwegian club Lillestrom SK this past Sunday, a debut in which Rodgers scored minutes after entering the game as a second-half substitute.

“He was on the pitch for six minutes and then he scored one goal, an easy one, a tap-in,” said Backe. “But anyhow you need to be there, so good start for him.”

Rodgers’ goal looked to be the winner, but opponents Rosenborg hit back to score deep into stoppage time and grab a 2-2 draw.

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.