UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls may not be able to deploy a completely healthy starting lineup against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday (4 pm ET, ESPN), but they got one step closer to full-strength as a trio of players returned to the practice field on Wednesday.
Designated Players Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez and starting center back Markus Holgersson all returned to training after missing last Sunday’s 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution in order to allow their respective knocks to heal. Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said all three should be good to go on Sunday, but ruled out three other starters.
“Holgersson, Rafa and Thierry is definitely OK,” Backe told reporters. “[Heath] Pearce, [Jan Gunnar] Solli and, of course, [Teemu] Tainio are out.”
Solli and Pearce will not be available for a second consecutive game due to hamstring problems sustained in the Red Bulls’ 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on June 30, while Tainio is still recovering from the ACL injury that has kept him out of action since early April. Neither Solli, Pearce nor Tainio were at training.
Goalkeeper Ryan Meara was also absent from the practice field on Wednesday morning as he received treatment to an injured hip, but Backe believes the rookie should be ready for the clash with the Sounders.
“He will be in probably tomorrow or Friday,” Backe said. "I don't think it was anything [from the collision Meara had with Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe this past Sunday]. He had some problems with the hip a couple of weeks ago."
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.