UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe is recovering from surgery and will not oversee practice on Friday or travel for the match at San Jose on Saturday, MLSsoccer.com has learned.
The gameday coaching duties and preparations leading up to the game against the Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes) will be handled by assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen.
“No problem,” said Halvorsen, who has 14 years of head coaching experience in Europe.
Backe is at home and resting after his surgery and expects a full recovery for next week. Further details were not made available from the club. Halvorsen said that the team will implement the same gameplan as if Backe was on the bench.
Albright is all right: A welcome sight on Thursday in training was the return of right back Chris Albright to the pitch. A January acquisition last year, the veteran defender was a key contributor to a Red Bulls back line that was among the stingiest in league history. After offseason knee surgery and most recently hernia surgery, Albright is fully recovered and ready to begin inching his way towards the playing field again.
“I feel good; it is just a matter of getting my fitness back,” Albright said.
The former national team right back is eyeing the US Open Cup and Emirates Cup matches in late July as ways to get game-fit for the stretch run.
Quick Kicks: Jan Gunnar Solli walked off the field midway through training with what Halvorsen termed as “stiffness” in his right leg. The right back’s leg was iced and wrapped and he moved off the field and toward the locker room well. Halvorsen anticipates having the player available for Saturday and said the rest was just “precautionary."
• Left winger Brian Nielsen did cardio training on Thursday as he continues to rehab from last season’s knee surgeries. A former U-21 Dutch international, Nielsen has not played for the Red Bulls since last June due to injuries.
Luke Rodgers, meanwhile, worked with Nielsen on conditioning and light touches and Halvorsen said that the English striker, who injured his heel two weeks ago, is uncertain to travel. The team’s second-leading scorer, Rodgers missed the entirety of the team’s recent three-game road trip.
• Halvorsen was unwilling to tip his hat with regards to whether Bouna Coundoul or Greg Sutton will start in goal on Saturday night.
• Defender Rafa Márquez is expected to miss no more than three weeks with a hamstring injury suffered in the final of the Gold Cup, where he captained Mexico.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer