When the New York Red Bulls step onto the field to face the Montreal Impact this Saturday, they will do so without either of their Designated Players.
Already missing Tim Cahill due to international duty with Australia, the Red Bulls will also be without star forward and captain Thierry Henry due to injury. Henry suffered a knock late in New York’s scoreless draw with D.C. United this past weekend, and an MRI on Monday revealed the Frenchman has sustained a left MCL sprain.
Even though an injury has ruled Henry out, Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke admitted via a conference call Tuesday that there was already consideration to not take him on the road trip to Montreal, who are hosting this weekend's match on the artificial turf of Olympic Stadium, due to his history with an Achilles tendon problem.
“It was one of those things that I was very seriously leaning towards not even bringing him to Montreal, but no decision was final yet because we had a week from the D.C. game to the next game,” said Petke. “But this is very ideal for me not to have him play on turf with his Achilles tendon. It’s not ideal how it worked out, but it did work out.”
With Henry sidelined for the clash against the undefeated Impact, Petke will now need to turn to his bench to find someone who can complement in-form forward Fabian Espindola. Petke has a few options in Josue Martinez, Amando Moreno and recently-signed Peguy Luyindula, but New York’s head coach would not reveal which, if any, of them would start.
“Hopefully, Peggy will be back with his visa,” said Petke when asked about his forward options. “We have a young guy like Amando Moreno, who while he is young has shown glimpses here and there. Josue Martinez has been doing well in training, so we do have a couple of options up there. Depends on how we want to play.”
A Red Bulls spokesman said the club was hopeful that Henry could return for next week's duel with the Philadelphia Union.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.