UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Teemu Tainio’s halftime insertion into New York’s 5-2 win over Montreal last weekend was pivotal in allowing the Red Bulls to overcome a disjointed opening 45 minutes. It helped set the tone for a dominant second half display as the ex-Tottenham midfielder used all his experience to help dictate the pace of the game.
However, Tainio’s ability to build on that performance against the Columbus Crew on Saturday (3 pm ET, Univision Deportes) is in major doubt after the Finnish star sustained his second injury of the season during Thursday’s training session.
After recently recovering from a deep right ankle bruise picked up in Week 2’s road loss to Real Salt Lake, Tainio suffered a knock to his right knee on Thursday morning. The injury could force him to miss his second game of the season.
HIGHLIGHTS: NY 5, MTL 2
“He twisted his knee now so we have to wait and see,” head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com following Thursday’s practice.
Backe said Tainio’s availability for the match at Crew Stadium would be decided on Friday. Should Tainio not suit up, Dax McCarty is likely to fill in for him while Victor Palsson would be the primary central midfielder on the bench.
Meanwhile, Wilman Conde continues to be a question mark with a strained groin, according to Backe. The Colombian center back did solo work off to the side on Thursday.
“Wilman is definitely doubtful,” said Backe. “He will travel with us and we will make a late decision.”
The other big injury concern, midfielder Rafa Márquez, is also not completely healthy. Still, Backe expects the Designated Player to suit up vs. the Crew.
“Rafa seems to be perhaps not 100 percent, still a little stiff in his groin,” said Backe. “But he will be ready.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.