HANOVER, N.J. – For Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Bradley Wright-Phillips, the past two weeks have been far from easy. In fact, they've been downright exhausting.
A congested schedule with the New York Red Bulls combined with appearances at the AT&T MLS All-Star Game has left the trio feeling the effects. They’ve played against Arsenal, traveled far west to take on Real Salt Lake, gone back to New York to host the Revolution in a match that saw the Red Bulls play with 10 men for an entire half, flew cross-country to Portland for their All-Star appearances and then back to New York for a couple of days before heading to Chicago (Sunday, 8 pm ET | Univision Deportes).
The abnomally heavy travel load and combined minutes played in such a short span of time, not to mention some groin tightness for Cahill, might normally be cause to put the trio on short leashes when the Red Bulls visit the Fire this weekend. But head coach Mike Petke expects his three starters to be ready to go from the opening whistle, especially since they benefitted from having another day to recover with the match being played on Sunday.
“It would’ve been tough to play [Saturday]. Any extra day of rest is great,” said Petke after training on Friday. “It’s going to be a tough game going to Chicago so we’re going to need everybody rested and on the same page mentally and raring to go. I think, with any indication from practice today, if they are not ready yet, they are very close and, by [Sunday], they should be.”
While the three will apparently be giving it a go from the onset at Toyota Park, they are admittedly dealing with some accumulated fatigue heading into a match against the Fire that will mark their fifth game in 16 days.
“It wasn’t easy, I will be honest,” Henry said. “…I’m not going to complain that’s what we like, that’s what we love to do. Having said that, it’s not an easy one but you have to perform under any circumstances. We’re going to try to do that, it won’t be easy against Chicago. … Hopefully we can do something and recover well.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.