Tim Cahill, Armando expected back for New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia, but likely won't start

HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls will be a healthier side on Wednesday than they have been in recent weeks.

Tim Cahill and Armando have recovered from the hamstring injuries they have recently been dealing with and are set to be made available as the Red Bulls search for their first win of the season on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Union (7:30 pm ET; MLS Free Stream of the Week).

Cahill has been sidelined since sustaining his hamstring issue in the first half of a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on March 30, and Armando suffered his injury late in New York’s 2-2 tie with the Montreal Impact on April 5. Both players have spent much of the past week gradually picking up their workloads in training, and they practiced in full on Monday and Tuesday after missing last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United.

It still seems unlikely that either of them start against the Union, however.

“Tim’s been out of action for a while, Armando for just 10-11 days, so it all comes down to what’s the best fit tomorrow, if they start or come off the bench. We’re going to figure that out,” head coach Mike Petke told reporters after training on Tuesday. “Do we have a minute put down? No. I think with someone like Armando, it would be reckless to start him. But I think if we needed to, we could get away with it.

“As far as I know [and] as far as he’s relaying to us and the medical staff, Tim feels good, but he’s been out for a while. It’s just about figuring out what the best role is for him, to throw him right back in or give him an opportunity off the bench and give him one more week to really get into it.”

Cahill, for his part, insinuated that he is likely to come off the bench on Wednesday night when the Red Bulls try and knock off a revamped Union team that are also off to a somewhat slow start at 1-1-4.

“It’s only been two weeks, so I still need to be careful,” said Cahill. “I’m probably my own worst enemy, but we’ve dealt with it really well. Every day has been a progression. I’ve had two big sessions … I’ll be ready to go but I suppose it’s one of those ones (where) it’s the manager’s and medical staff’s decision, but I’m going to put myself near enough, 80-90 percent to play.

“It’s up to the manager. I can’t see starting, just in case, but overall I feel good and you push yourself in certain stages in the week and I’ve had a really hard two weeks and for a four- to six-week injury it seems pretty good.”

Bobby Convey is one player whose hamstring issue has ruled him out for the match with Philadelphia. The midfielder was not seen on the field at training on Monday or Tuesday, and Petke effectively ruled him out despite giving no official timetable for the veteran’s recovery.

Convey suffered the injury in the middle of last week.

“Bobby’s still struggling a bit,” said Petke. “He’s not out in practice, so he’s not an option for tomorrow.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.