Peguy Luyindula was a notable absence from the Red Bulls’ final training session on Friday morning before the team departed for Toronto, and after practice head coach Mike Petke said that the veteran midfielder was struggling with a calf injury. Luyindula sustained the knock during Thursday’s practice, and is doubtful to take part in the Red Bulls-TFC clash at BMO Field (4:30 pm ET; MLS Live, TSN in Canada).
“I don’t think Peguy will be involved this weekend,” said Petke. “I don’t want to say if it’s a pull, if it’s a tear because I don’t know the exact details. He was out getting an MRI this morning – I was told during the practice the diagnosis – and it looks like he won’t be a part this weekend.”
The loss of Luyindula leaves Petke and his coaching staff with one less option at a position that was already thin on options given the departure of Cahill earlier this week. The Designated Player left New York on Thursday to join Australia’s preparations for next month’s World Cup, and his and Luyindula’s absences will likely lead to a shuffling of players in the Red Bulls’ lineup.
The club seems prepared to deal with that, however.
“The thing is that we had a good scenario where Peguy was starting this weekend, but we also had a scenario before the injury – just based on what we want to accomplish up there, how we want to push the game – where he wasn’t starting and coming off the bench,” said Petke. “We were prepared before the injury. It is a big loss, though, because Peguy with the ball at his feet does things that other players on this team cannot and so obviously it’s a loss, but we move on from it.”
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Making matters worse for the Red Bulls is that they will also be without their starting left back in Miller, who is away with Costa Rica for their World Cup preparations. Bobby Convey, Kosuke Kimura and Connor Lade are some of the eager players that could fill in for Miller on Saturday on a team that will surely have its depth tested.
“I’ve said it since least year: One person’s absence – whether it’s through injury, World Cup, whatever it is – is another player’s opportunity,” said Petke. “We have some guys that are raring to go and are hungry. That’s really all how you deal with that: put in the guys that have an opportunity now to show and then you move on from there.
“We have guys that are ready, guys that are anxious, excited, and that’s all we could ask for.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.