UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Ahead of what will basically amount to a four-game road trip, the Red Bulls are preparing for their nearly two weeks away from home and finally getting some reinforcements.
Midfielders Joel Lindpere (foot) and Teemu Tainio (groin) both worked out on Thursday, leaving New York head coach Hans Backe with a positive outlook as his team prepares for a matchup on Sunday against the Portland Timbers.
“It looks good,” Backe said after training Thursday. “I’m absolutely sure everyone will be in.”
The only player not on the training field at Montclair State University was Luke Rodgers, who was receiving treatment for nagging injury to his heel. When asked by MLSsoccer.com about the status of the Englishman, Backe anticipates Rodgers being available for Sunday’s match in Portland.
Lindpere trained for the first time since last week after suffering his injury in pregame before last Friday’s 2-1 home win over New England. He was fitted for an orthotic heel last week by the team’s athletic trainer, Rick Guter.
At one point in training, Lindpere had to adjust his cleat but he seemed to train fully and relatively pain free aside from that moment, a good sign given the fact that the Red Bulls next two matches are on artificial surfaces.
“I’m going to try this weekend,” Lindpere said. “If it is really bad, I can skip the next game and concentrate on the grass games. You know me. if I still have some pain, I go on the field.”
De Ro’s return: The Red Bulls welcomed back Dwayne De Rosario to the field on Thursday after the midfielder’s Canadian national team was bounced from the Gold Cup on Tuesday. De Rosario scored twice for Canada during the tournament, both via penalty kicks.
“Canada didn’t make it,” Thierry Henry said. "I was happy — not in a bad way, more than happy to see De Ro back."
On Monday, sporting director Erik Solér said that when De Rosario returned, he’d open discussions with the player about a possible new contract. De Rosario is in the final year of his deal with the league and was traded to New York earlier this year.
“I’m definitely 100 percent about talking the club with my future,” De Rosario said. “Now that I’m back, I look forward to talking about my future.”
Open Cup means open game: Backe talked boldly before the season about the club having Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup aspirations, but the US Open Cup doesn’t appear to be on his current horizon right now.
With news that the Red Bulls will host the June 28 match, Backe said it won’t be a fixture for his starters. He will, in his words, start “as few as possible.”
The match comes right at the end of the Red Bulls’ road jaunt to Portland, Seattle and Chicago, and that Tuesday falls before their weekend trip to San Jose.
Miller’s possible call-up: Backe said that he wasn’t sure yet if left back Roy Miller was going to be called up to Costa Rica’s national team for next month's Copa América. Los Ticos replaced Japan as a special invite to the South American tournament.
The Red Bulls head coach was uncertain if he’d be trialing any players right now but said that they could be looking at some depth at left back.
“It could be because of Roy Miller,” Backe said. “Could trade something or try to find some [allocation] money.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer