UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls’ laundry list of injuries continues to get longer.
Already missing several starters due to various knocks, the club has lost center back Stephen Keel (above) for the foreseeable future and might be without right back Jan Gunnar Solli after the two defenders took hits in this past Sunday’s 4-1 road defeat to rivals D.C. United.
“Keel is out for minimum three weeks,” RBNY head coach Hans Backe told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s a stress fracture in his back. That has been going on for a while. A stress fracture is over a period of time. So it was so, so stiff that he went for a scan and it’s a stress fracture.
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“Solli has a scan today. His calf, he got a really bad hit against D.C. Hopefully it’s just a formality that it’s nothing else.”
The knocks suffered by Keel and Solli add more problems to an already thin Red Bulls backline that is missing starting center back Wilman Conde (groin), incumbent left back Roy Miller (knee) and is currently second-worst in the league in goals conceded.
Now with Keel sidelined and Solli a question mark for this Saturday’s match vs. the New England Revolution (3:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), Backe could be forced to field a back four made up of rookie Connor Lade, the inexperienced duo of Jonathan Borrajo and Tyler Ruthven, and a struggling Markus Holgersson.
Defense isn’t the only area where the Red Bulls are not at full strength. Central midfielder Teemu Tainio and forward Juan Agudelo continue to recover from knee injuries, while midfielder Rafa Márquez is serving a three-game suspension that will keep him out of upcoming matches against New England and the LA Galaxy.
“Wilman is almost the same as Keel; we’re talking about three to four weeks,” said Backe. “Teemu Tainio minimum four weeks. Roy Miller 10 to 14 days. Agudelo, perhaps, in a week [to] 10 days start training.”
Backe also mentioned that a guest goalkeeper took part in training on Wednesday in part because starting netminder Ryan Meara has sustained some minor injuries.
“Ryan his picked up some hits and knocks during these games,” Backe said of his rookie goalkeeper, who trained fully on Wednesday. “We need a third one in [training].”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.