If the New York Red Bulls are to end their winless start to the season this weekend, they might have to do so without several of their starters.
Tim Cahill and Richard Eckersley have been ruled out of the club’s upcoming road trip to Montreal with injuries, and Thierry Henry and Jámison Olave might join them on the sidelines due to the fact that the Saturday match against the Impact (4 pm ET; TSN) is being played on the turf surface at Olympic Stadium.
Cahill and Eckersley were removed in the first half of the Red Bulls’ 1-1 draw with Chivas USA this past Sunday after sustaining hamstring and ankle knocks, respectively. The Australian Designated Player is expected to be back in two weeks, while Eckersley could miss up to a month’s worth of action.
“What we’re looking at [with Cahill] is a mild hamstring strain,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke during his weekly conference call on Tuesday. “I would hope to have him back in two weeks, but for now it seems that he will be out this weekend with a hamstring strain. … Eckersley is out. He’s definitely out.”
The injuries come at a bad time for New York. Not only is the club looking to pick up its first victory of the year after struggling to an 0-2-2 record in the first month of the season, but it will be playing this weekend’s match against the Impact on an artificial pitch.
In the past, that's meant key starters Henry and Olave become spectators to avoid having them play on turf. This time, though, the usually tight-lipped Petke would not confirm the pair would sit.
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"It's Tuesday of the week before the game, so I'm not going to make any bold statements yes or no," said Petke. "We traditionally know what goes on with these games. However, there's always that chance, there's always the situation that we have a conversation and decide that it's a go on this turf. I'm not ready to make any statement right now, but there's always a chance.
"Having said that, we have what I think is a deep roster. I have total confidence in whoever jumps in if [Henry and Olave] are not going to go. We've had success before in Montreal, and that's what we're looking to do this time."
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.