UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara has been struggling with a hip injury since early July, and he is set to have an operation to help correct the issue.
Meara was once again absent from practice on Wednesday morning and head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com afterwards that the rookie netminder is set to go under the knife on Thursday. Backe, however, did not reveal a timetable for recovery nor did he say whether it would be season-ending.
“I’m not quite sure with his surgery, how big that surgery [is],” Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “I can’t speculate. We have to wait until the doctors say what it is.”
Another player who has been dealing with a nagging injury that was not in training on Wednesday was Rafa Márquez. The Designated Player was instead in Mexico, where he is continuing to receive treatment on his problematic left calf, and Backe expects him back at the “end of the week.”
Sam waiting to receive visa
Lloyd Sam was the other absentee on Wednesday, and he is still in the process of receiving his visa. The recently acquired midfielder signed a half-season deal with the Red Bulls last week, and he could be available to make his MLS debut in this Sunday’s critical Eastern Conference match against Sporting Kansas City (9 pm ET; ESPN2) if given the green light on his visa.
“[He] has done his appointment and hopefully he can pick it up tomorrow, if we’re lucky,” said Backe. “You never know after the Olympics now, they’re closing down everything. But hopefully he can get his visa tomorrow.”
Hertzog could compete for minutes
Another topic Backe touched on was the impending return of Corey Hertzog, whose loan with the Wilmington Hammerheads could expire as early as this weekend or as late as September 8.
Backe is not opposed to having the young forward compete for some minutes off the bench when he returns from the USL club, but it will be tough given that New York currently have quite a bit of depth up top and two reserve players in Jhonny Arteaga and Jose Angulo who rarely see the field now.
Regardless, Hertzog will be back on the roster in the near future.
“When every player is back then from injuries, it looks like we have a very good bench, too,” said Backe. “When his season is finished, he will be back.”
Midfield an option for Miller
Roy Miller has played only at left back during the regular season, but Backe says a shift to midfield may be in order.
“That is definitely a position and it’s quite similar as playing fullback,” said Backe about moving Miller to the left flank. “I think in the beginning of last season and this season we played him in a couple of friendlies in midfield wide left. Still, he is an option for us as a fullback.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com