HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls will be playing their third game in eight days on Saturday, but don’t expect accumulating fatigue to force head coach Mike Petke to tinker with his starting lineup.
Petke said after the team’s Friday morning practice that most of the starters from Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Sporting KC would again get the nod against the New England Revolution on Saturday night (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
Center back Jámison Olave, who was at training on Friday after undergoing an MRI on Thursday, will be a game-time decision depending on how his injured left knee responds to another day of rest. Meanwhile, midfielder Juninho will certainly be unavailable as he serves his red-card suspension. But beyond that, Petke said a roster overhaul isn’t in the works.
“I’m not looking at very many changes, to be honest with you,” New York's coach told reporters after training at Red Bull Arena. “I’m going to put the team out there that I think has the best quality and the best group to get us a result.”
That means it’s likely Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty will all make their third start in as many games on Saturday against a better-rested Revolution team that has scored just once this season but conceded only twice.
“We’re going to have to find some energy and deal with the fact that we played on Wednesday and try to break them down,” Henry told reporters on Friday. “It looks like they’re kind of strong at the moment. … It won’t be easy. They’re very good at the back, strong and they have some players that can hurt you up front.”
One player who apparently will not be contributing to the Red Bulls’ cause this weekend is Péguy Luyindula. The Frenchman has been in the process of returning to full fitness after suffering a hamstring injury last week, but he suffered a minor setback on Thursday that will keep him out of action for a third straight match.
“He just got a little twinge, nothing reinjuring it but he felt a little something and he left practice early,” said Petke. “Today, he was more with the medical team. I don’t see him featuring in the game tomorrow. I think our new goal with him is Toronto [on April 27] to be 100 percent ready to roll.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.