UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Striker Theirry Henry will once again not be in uniform as the New York Red Bulls look to lock up home-field advantage in the postseason on Thursday night against the New England Revolution.
Red Bulls coach Hans Backe was adamant Wednesday that he won’t risk any further injury to Henry, who missed New York’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia last Saturday after sustaining a knee injury during a collision with teammate Juan Agudelo in training last week.
If Henry can start training next Monday, then Backe could see him being in the mix for the first leg of the playoffs.
“A little bit more pain today,” Backe said. “That’s not a good sign.”
Despite Henry’s absence, Backe said the team’s regulars will see minutes on Thursday night, but he also wants to bleed in some of the talent from the bench.
“I don’t think [we’re] resting,” Backe said. “Just trying to get new players some time.”
New York can clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference and home-field advantage with a win against the Revs. They can also secure the spot with a tie and a tie or loss for the Columbus Crew on Sunday against Philadelphia.
They can also clinch with a loss, if the Crew lose to the Union in their season finale.
Rumors circulated in the Scandinavian press on Tuesday that the Red Bulls are in talks to bring over Norwegian Jan Halvor Halvorsen as an assistant coach. Backe confirmed that there have been discussions with Halvorsen about joining the staff.
[inline_node:300960]“We’ve been talking about it for next year,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “Get to see if we can get the background staff – get more people in.”
Amidst speculation that current Red Bulls assistant coach Richie Williams could be a candidate for the vacancy at D.C. United, Backe was mum when asked if Halvorsen’s arrival would coincide with the need to replace someone on the staff.
“It could be,” Backe said.
Irving Garcia and Carey Talley worked on their fitness and agility with team trainer Rick Guter on Wednesday morning. Backe is optimistic that Talley will be back on the field soon, saying he should be able to train by this weekend or Monday. … Left winger Brian Nielsen did cardio conditioning after the team finished the morning session. … On central midfielder Rafa Márquez’s health, Backe simply said, “Rafa’s OK.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012