HANOVER, N.J. – Peguy Luyindula’s brief hiatus is over, and he will be in uniform for the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Luyindula missed Tuesday’s training session and Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union because of what head coach Mike Petke labeled personal reasons. But the French midfielder was back practicing with the reserves on Wednesday, trained with the full team on Thursday and Friday and is expected to be on the 18-man roster that is named to play the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night (7 pm ET; MLS Live).
He explained Friday that his absence was due to injuries in both of his big toes that were initially sustained more than a month ago after playing in back-to-back games on turf surfaces against the New England Revolution and New York Cosmos. He no longer feels any pain in his left toe, but said the right one is still not back to 100 percent.
“It was right after the Cosmos game because I think that because we played two times in a row on turf my feet didn’t [respond] that good,” said Luyindula. “I felt it right after that game, but it was not that bad then. It started to increase after – I really don’t know why – and from there I kept just asking for the doctors and the physio what’s happening on my toes because it’s the first for me in my career to have that.
“I didn’t know what to do because it kept increasing, and I figured that the best way to stop it was to stop a little bit.”
The veteran’s last appearance for the Red Bulls came in a 78-minute performance in a 2-2 draw vs. Toronto FC on June 27 in which he scored his fourth goal of the season. He has not appeared in any of New York’s three games since despite dressing in last Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.
“You just take massage, give ice on it, wait, because I don’t want to put any injection, so you have to wait,” said Luyindula, who has started in nine of the 14 league matches he has played in this year. “Now it’s a bit better, my left one doesn’t bother me anymore so I’m just dealing with my right foot.“
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With Luyindula back in the fold, Petke now has another offensive weapon to either start or bring off the bench against the Earthquakes. Thierry Henry recently sang Luyindula’s praises by saying the 35-year-old midfielder is someone who can win games on his own, and it is clear that he is held in high regard by more than just his compatriot.
“Peguy is a great player,” said midfielder Tim Cahill. “He really showed, when a lot of the boys were away [on international duty and because of injury] and you need players like that, [he can] stand out and can contribute to the team. A good professional and someone that is great to have in the squad.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.