The New York Red Bulls had been flying high following two straight derby victories, but Thursday morning brought with it some sobering news.
Head coach Jesse Marsch revealed that defender Chris Duvall suffered a broken tibia after a collision with New York Cosmos defender Hunter Gorskie on Wednesday night in the Red Bulls' 4-1 victory in a round-of-16 victory of the US Open Cup. Duvall underwent a successful surgery Thursday morning, but the Wake Forest product will likely be sidelined for three to four months.
“The main thing is right now, your heart is with Chris because it was a hard injury, Marsch said. “It's a devastating blow for him, and it's his first real big injury of his career. But I think it's been made clear to him that this is not anything that's going to endanger his future, and it's just a matter of now it's going to take some time to heal, but that he'll come back and be stronger than ever."
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for the 23-year-old who was seemingly finding his form. Duvall netted the game winner against New York City FC on Sunday night before earning a penalty against the Cosmos on Wednesday night. The magnitude of the loss of their starting right back is compounded by the relative lack of defensive cover the Red Bulls have at the moment.
“We're a little thin right now in the back, that's the facts,” Marsch told Big Apple Soccer. “We're going to require our guys to dig in and now make sure our defenders are ready to get to put in some minutes for the next few games until after the Gold Cup until we can get some guys back”
- Get more RBNY news at NewYorkRedBulls.com
This season, Homegrown defender Connor Lade has been tasked with right back duties in Duvall’s previous absences, but with Kemar Lawrence and Roy Miller out on international duty, the status of both fullback positions are up in the air.
The challenge now falls to Marsch, who will likely need to rely on the likes of Anthony Wallace, Shawn McLaws and even versatile midfielder Sean Davis to hold down the fort until Duvall makes his return to first-team play.