New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke may have already started coming up with his gameplan for the weekend, but that is not all he is concerning himself with ahead of the club’s Sunday match against the Chicago Fire (5 pm ET, ESPN2).
Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, Petke said he and his coaching staff were keeping close tabs on the health of several of their injured players ahead of the Red Bulls’ visit to Toyota Park. Fabián Espíndola, who missed this past Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union with a hamstring knock, has not been ruled out and neither have Designated Players Thierry Henry (MCL sprain) and Tim Cahill (calf strain).
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“Espíndola and Cahill, we’re monitoring them,” Petke said. “Thierry came out and played a bit today. He’s still doing well, he’s somebody who is tough to get off the field along with Cahill, but we need to monitor them in the right way.”
One player who will miss the Fire match is defender Connor Lade. The versatile youngster was not in uniform against Philadelphia due to an injury he sustained the week prior against the Montreal Impact, but he is expected to be back in practice shortly after New York’s trip to Chicago.
“Connor Lade has something in plantar fasciitis,” said Petke. “We’re looking at him hopefully after Chicago to start getting out on the field and doing some stuff.”
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is not dealing with any injuries, but the Red Bulls are also closely keeping track of how he is faring. Hartman, who signed with New York two weeks ago, is trying to get back into shape after spending nearly the entire offseason without a club and he might soon be able to suit up for the club for the first time.
“We need to monitor him and we brought him in for a reason,” Petke said. “We obviously understand being that he didn’t go through a preseason that it wasn’t going to be as if he was 100 percent ready. But we’re pushing him as best we can and every day he’s showing improvement, with fitness and everything, so I’m looking [for him to be available] hopefully very, very shortly.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.