UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Once again, New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe will be forced to make changes to his backline.
Defenders Brandon Barklage (pictured above, right) and Wilman Conde missed the Red Bulls’ training session on Tuesday morning and both fullbacks appear set to skip out on Saturday’s pivotal Eastern Conference match against Sporting Kansas City.
According to Backe, Barklage is nursing a foot injury sustained in this past Sunday’s training session and that the team is waiting to get the results of a scan to learn the severity of it. Conde, meanwhile, has been ruled out due to personal reasons.
“I think we’re talking about a couple of weeks,” Backe said Tuesday of the timeframe for Conde’s return.
The Red Bulls coach would not elaborate any further on Conde’s situation, including when asked if it was related to the Colombian’s arrest earlier in the season. What Backe hinted at, however, is that Barklage’s foot injury is serious enough to keep him from playing in Saturday’s game.
“We can probably choose from Connor Lade, Heath Pearce, [Jan Gunnar] Solli," Backe said. "[Jonathan] Borrajo is a fourth option, but two of these four guys have to play on Saturday."
If Pearce starts at one of the fullback spots, Backe said he could pair Markus Holgersson with either Rafa Márquez or Digão in central defense.
As for Roy Miller, Backe said the Costa Rican could be an option to start at left back but that it was unlikely, given that he will he probably not train until Friday after returning from international duty on Wednesday night.
“Normally when they are coming back, they start on the bench,” said Backe.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.