UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – If you think the New York Red Bulls are planning on heading into their game vs. the LA Galaxy with a defensive-minded approach, think again.
Despite missing several starters due to a combination of injury and suspension – including Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez – the Red Bulls are heading to The Home Depot Center on Saturday night (8 pm ET, ESPN, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com) without harboring any fear of attacking their star-studded, cross-country foes.
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“The confidence must be on top,” Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe told reporters after Thursday’s training session. “It’s more that the players take their own decisions in this game and don’t just sit and stay and are not active enough.”
That mentality is different from the one Backe said he would contemplate using for road games following New York’s 4-1 defeat at D.C. United on April 22, and it is one he wants his younger, more inexperienced players to execute.
“Sometimes I just have the feeling in that when we have new guys in they are a little bit afraid of doing things by themselves decision-wise,” said Backe. “I mean if I say something, some of these guys do it for 90 minutes even if they have 10 other options. Don’t be passive in this game, play your game and work hard because the way we worked against [New England last weekend] was phenomenal with these guys.”
Solli returns to training
Jan Gunnar Solli returned to full training for the first time in over a week on Thursday, and he said there is no lingering pain in the left calf strain he suffered against D.C. United.
“I feel 100 percent,” the Norwegian defender said. “It is up to the coach how much he wants to use me. If I step out there, there are no brakes. It’s 100 percent, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Conde, Miller near returns
The injury-ravaged Red Bulls are slowly piecing themselves back together.
Teemu Taino returned to practice and did some light jogging for the first time since injuring his knee last month, while Wilman Conde did some ball work with a trainer. Backe said Tainio is still a few weeks out from playing, but Conde and injured left back Roy Miller (knee) are nearing full health.
“Roy will definitely train on Monday, so he will be available for the Wednesday game [against the Houston Dynamo],” said Backe. “Wilman is doing very well now, so it seems at the end of next week he can probably join the team in our sessions.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.