Dax McCarty
USA Today Sports

New York Red Bulls lose Dax McCarty to quad injury, likely to miss Toronto, Columbus matches

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls won’t just be missing one of their top central midfielders this weekend. They will be missing two.

Already without Juninho as he serves the second game in his recent suspension, the Red Bulls have lost Dax McCarty for this Saturday’s match at Toronto FC because of an injury.

McCarty suffered a right quad knock during Wednesday’s practice session and did not train on Thursday, and afterwards head coach Mike Petke revealed that his iron man midfielder is set to miss more than just the upcoming game at BMO Field (Saturday, 2 pm ET; TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live).

READ: What to watch for when the Red Bulls face Toronto FC on Saturday

“Dax will be out, the word right now, two weeks,” said Petke after Thursday’s session. “He has a slight tear in his quad. It’s a small little tear, so [the medical staff] are only saying two to two-and-a-half weeks.”

The loss of McCarty is a big one for Petke, who will now likely have to partner Tim Cahill with a player who has not seen many minutes at central midfield this season.

Eric Alexander and Jonny Steele seem like the most probable solutions, but rookie Michael Bustamante has looked sharp in training in recent weeks and he could be an option as well. Fellow rookie Ian Christianson is not available as he is currently sidelined with a fifth metatarsal injury.

READ: Petke looking forward to testing wits with ex-teammate, TFC coach Ryan Nelsen

Whoever is ultimately chosen to replace McCarty against Toronto and in the following week’s road match vs. the Columbus Crew will have some big shoes to fill. Aside from being a linchpin in New York’s defensive setup, McCarty has contributed two goals and one assist, playing every minute of the Red Bulls’ first nine games this season.

“It’s not an easy one to deal with but it’s the story of our season sometimes,” Thierry Henry told MLSsoccer.com. “You miss some players and you have to make sure that you can adapt and adjust. But obviously missing Dax is difficult because he is a big piece of our puzzle.”

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