HARRISON, N.J. – The current stoppage in MLS play for the international break means the New York Red Bulls have plenty of time to correct their, recently at least, numerous shortcomings.
Needless to say, that’s something the players aren’t exactly thrilled about.
With two weeks separating their home tilt on Oct. 20 against Sporting Kansas City from last Saturday’s loss to the Chicago Fire, New York will have a lengthy pause in action to reflect on their recent performances and attempt to fix their inconsistent ways.
“I don’t like it,” Thierry Henry told reporters after the 2-0 loss to the Fire on Saturday. “I would love to have a game in three days to erase that, but obviously you cannot do that. But we’re going to have to prepare ourselves well because Kansas City don’t concede a lot of goals and they are the best team in the East.”
Tim Cahill, Joel Lindpere and Roy Miller are the only three Red Bulls players away for international duty and head coach Hans Backe has given the rest of team the week off until Friday, when they will hold their first training session since the defeat to Chicago.
Having that many days to unwind might normally be welcomed with open arms, but New York are just champing at the bit to get back on the field and begin preparations for Sporting KC, a game that could have huge implications on the Red Bulls’ postseason hopes.
Though 32 games, the club sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference on 53 points – one behind D.C. United, three ahead of Houston and four ahead of Columbus. Regardless of what their opponents do, a win against either Sporting or Philadelphia will seal their place in postseason.
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But, for now, the Red Bulls must wait. And waiting, it’s often said, is the hardest part.
“After a game like that you want to get back on the field right away, right your wrongs,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “These guys got to go and make some long, international trips.
“Regardless of what happens ... we have to make sure that we take care of our business.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.