The injury Tim Cahill suffered this past weekend will keep him out for more than just the MLS All-Star Game.
The New York Red Bulls announced via a conference call Tuesday afternoon that Cahill suffered a torn PCL in his right knee in the club’s 4-3 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, and that the expected recovery time is three to four weeks. No surgery is needed on the injury, which Cahill suffered in the fourth minute of the match vs. RSL on a challenge from Yordany Alvarez.
“It’s a very big loss to us,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “It was a very reckless and careless challenge. I don’t think it was intentional, I don’t think Salt Lake plays like that, but I think it was just a very careless challenge to the knee and it’s going to be a big loss for us.
“The fortunate part of it, is that [we’re] looking at a three- to four-week recovery time. That’s if he sticks to the treatment, which of course he will, and if the treatment goes well. That’s soccer, that’s life and we have to figure out ways to just do without him.”
The Australian international was in visible pain after Alvarez came in high on a challenge near midfield, but Cahill re-entered in the seventh minute before scoring the opener in the 11th and putting in an 85-minute effort.
“My first question was that, I needed to make sure that [the injury came] from the challenge, the reckless challenge and him playing on through it didn’t hurt it anymore,” said Petke. “I was assured that it was a 100 percent impact injury.”
The timeframe of Cahill’s recovery means he could be sidelined for as many as five games in August, including Eastern Conference clashes against Sporting Kansas City, the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United.
The player likely to replace him in the Red Bulls’ central midfield is Eric Alexander, who has been starting out on the right. Who would fill in for Alexander on the right side of the midfield in that scenario is a bit of a mystery, though.
“You have a guy like Lloyd [Sam], who has shown some good stuff late in the game,” said Petke. “There are some things about Lloyd as far as putting him in a 90-minute game with all the defensive work you have to do and the quick going forward.
Recent signing Bradley Wright-Phillips is not an option for Petke for Saturday's clash with Sporting KC, as he has not yet received his P-1 visa.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.