Rafa Marquez next to large bull
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RBNY Notebook: Marquez confirms offseason loan hopes

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Rafa Márquez has endured one of the roughest seasons in his career, suffering through a bevy of injuries and mostly watching from the bench while his New York Red Bulls have competed for a playoff spot.

And in order to prevent that from happening again in 2013, he’s looking to go on loan during the offseason.

Confirming what he told ESPN’s Grupo Formula last week, Márquez told reporters on Thursday that he is hoping to secure a loan this winter so as to get into a rhythm ahead of what he called a “big year.”

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about, to stay active and not stop,” said Márquez. “I think the next year is an important one for me and I’m going to try and stay active during the offseason.”

Aside from wanting to stay healthy, part of what may be tempting Márquez to go on loan is the chance to work his way back into Mexico’s plans ahead of the Hexagonal, which is likely to start in February. The Red Bulls Designated Player has missed El Tri’s last three camps.

Sam available to start vs. Sporting

Having just recovered from a hamstring injury, Lloyd Sam might not be ready to go the distance in Saturday’s Eastern Conference tilt against Sporting Kansas City (7 pm ET; watch LIVE online). But that does not mean head coach Hans Backe is opposed to starting him.

READ: Majority of Red Bulls back at the grind despite off week

“He’s been training since last Saturday and also done a lot of individual work,” said Backe, “so perhaps he’s not ready for 90 minutes but he can definitely play up to 60 and that’s quite okay.”

Starting GK to be decided on game-by-game basis

Luis Robles and Bill Gaudette better get used to competing with one another for the starting goalkeeper spot.

Backe admitted Thursday that just because one of them starts vs. Sporting KC, that does not automatically mean they are the permanent starter from here on out. Rather, Backe will judge who starts in goal on a game-by-game basis.

“After the game, we always analyze and they are so even,” said Backe. “But that probably keeps them sharp, I hope, to perform every training session, day in, day out. I will take it day-by-day.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com

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