The New York Red Bulls are extremely thin on central midfield options right now.
Dax McCarty has been ruled out of the Red Bulls’ meeting with the New England Revolution this Sunday (5 pm ET; MLS Live) because of a knee injury sustained in their 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on May 27. McCarty’s absence further depletes a New York midfield that is currently dealing with the loss of Designated Player Tim Cahill, who is currently with Australia preparing for the World Cup.
“Dax took a pretty bad knock to his knee,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “He actually made it through the game, played through the pain. We have an MRI on his knee, and the situation looks like a couple of weeks.”
Recent history would indicate that Peguy Luyindula and Eric Alexander are the favorites to start in central midfield in New England. Luyindula, however, told MLSsoccer.com prior to the Sporting KC match that he was unable to play 90 minutes because his calf was still not 100 percent.
If that is still the case, Petke could opt to take an unconventional route and start one of Ibrahim Sekagya, Connor Lade or Ruben Bover in the middle of the park. The second-year manager could also elect to go with central midfielder Michael Bustamante, but that seems unlikely given that youngster has yet to feature in a match this season.
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Petke will likely have to make that decision in back-to-back games, as McCarty also looks set to miss the US Open Cup match against the New York Cosmos on June 14. The good news for the Red Bulls, however, is that they will have time to heal up after that game due to the World Cup break that follows in league play.
“If it was probably ever going to happen, it’s the best time to happen with the World Cup break coming,” said Petke.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.