UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — After a disappointing road game in Chicago over the weekend in which New York coughed up a halftime lead, it would seem surprising to see so many happy faces at Red Bulls training on Monday.
The presence of Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream, however, is reason enough to smile. The US internationals returned to their club after three weeks away at the Gold Cup. It has been a difficult go for New York recently, as the team posted two ties and a loss on their West Coast road trip and have won just once since May 7.
On Tuesday night, the Red Bulls look to get back to their winning ways as they host FC New York in the US Open Cup (8 pm ET, watch online at newyorkredbulls.com). Backe will use mainly reserve players for the match as his side has been tested over the course of the past couple weeks with depth issues and injuries.
“Juan and Tim will play on Tuesday against FC New York, along with one or two other regulars, but it will be mainly the reserves and the younger guys," Backe said. "I’m definitely looking for answers from these players on the field [on Tuesday night].”
On Sunday in Chicago, forward Thierry Henry lacked some of his usual zip on the field. However, Backe said there were no injuries to his star player, who has missed matches this season because of knee and heel injuries.
“There is no problem with Thierry and his heel,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “A little bit with his knee, but I don’t think it is really a concern. Going back to back on artificial turf was the problem. We were all fatigued. You can see it in the final 20 minutes of the match.”
During Saturday's Gold Cup final, Rafa Márquez was subbed out at halftime after pulling up with a hamstring injury. Backe is uncertain about the overall status of Márquez, who was not at training on Monday as he was dealing with some visa paperwork.
Márquez certainly won’t play in the US Open Cup match on Tuesday and Backe is already ruling the player out for Saturday in San Jose.
“I can’t speculate about the injury,"Backe said. "We haven’t seen it yet, but he won’t play Saturday.”
A Mexican federation spokesperson told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday that Márquez could be sidelined for eight to 14 days.
During the first two matches of the recent road trip, goalkeeper Greg Sutton conceded seven goals total to Portland and Seattle. Then, on Sunday, Bouna Coundoul let in a soft goal on Marco Pappa's shot, a score that gave the Fire a 1-1 tie after New York’s first-half lead.
There has been plenty of speculation that the goalkeeper position is an area of concern, but as of right now Backe plans to play with the cards he’s been dealt.
“There will be no changes, I don’t think,” Backe said. “We don’t have the cap space for it.”
However, that cap space was heavily relieved later on Monday as the Red Bulls dealt pricey midfielder Dwayne De Rosario to D.C. United in exchange for Dax McCarty. More on that later.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer