Shorthanded New York Red Bulls confident in reserves' abilities as search for first win continues
HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls have lauded their depth since the preseason, and now they have a chance to show how deep they really are.
The Red Bulls are set to continue the search for their first win of the season on Saturday with a visit to the Montreal Impact (4 pm ET; TSN) and will do so without several of their top players. Starters Tim Cahill and Richard Eckersley are both sidelined with injuries sustained in last weekend’s draw with Chivas USA, and it also appears Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave join them on the sidelines given that the game will be played on the turf surface at Olympic Stadium.
Henry did not speak to media on his designated day to do so Friday, which in the past has usually meant he will not play. Regardless, the Red Bulls expect to count on a few of their reserves when the ball gets rolling against a Montreal team that just boosted their forward corps by trading for Jack McInerney.
“There’s always a chance for guys to step up,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said Friday. “I know we have some guys out, guys who won’t be involved, but we have some guys that have some quality and we’re putting them in certain positions and we’re hoping that it’s going to pay dividends for us.”
Some of the reserves the Red Bulls are likely to count upon are right back Kosuke Kimura, forward Bradley Wright-Phillips and center back Ibrahim Sekagya. The three players are the next in line on the depth chart at their respective positions, and all are veterans with plenty of experience under their belts.
That, combined with the backups’ desire to prove their worth, is part of the reason why New York are feeling confident about their chances of picking up a result.
“This is why we have a squad,” said Wright-Phillips. “It’s not just 11 players. We’ve got our whole squad. We’ve got a very good, and it’s a chance for the people that don’t play too much to show what they should.”
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It would be a statement of sorts for the Red Bulls to pick up their first victory of the season on Saturday with a team that is shorthanded, but the club needs to first and foremost have the belief that they can do it even without some of their top players.
“It comes down to what [Petke] has been saying. He’s been talking about confidence,” starting goalkeeper Luis Robles told MLSsoccer.com. “You can look at it as we haven’t won yet or we’ve been unbeaten in three games that we’ve played relatively well. But it’s all about confidence regardless of what our starting lineup is when we go there.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.