Red Bulls-Union Preview

Last weekend, the New York Red Bulls had to deal with the

absence of several players due to international call-ups. This

week, their concern is injuries.

The playoff-bound Red Bulls could be without several key players

as they visit the Philadelphia Union on Saturday with a chance to

clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

New York (14-8-6) currently leads the East with 48 points – two

more than second-place Columbus. Each team has two games


A win, coupled with a loss or tie by the Crew on Saturday

against Toronto, would clinch the conference’s top seed for the Red


New York has posted three consecutive shutouts, but was held to

a draw against Real Salt Lake last Saturday.

The Red Bulls were without three players who were on

international duty, including starting goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul

and second-leading scorer Dane Richards, but they improved to 3-0-2

in their last five games.

“Teams have to watch out for us,” rookie defender Tim Ream said.

“Getting 11 points in the last five games, that’s a good run going

into the playoffs.”

While it’s getting three players back this week, New York might

not be at full strength Saturday. Striker Thierry Henry sat out

Thursday’s practice with an undisclosed injury while defender Rafa

Marquez also missed the practice with some residual pain after

playing for Mexico in a friendly Wednesday.

Coach Hans Backe told the league’s official website he was

uncertain whether either would play Saturday.

Defenders Roy Miller will definitely be out because of a

yellow-card accumulation and Mike Petke isn’t expected to play

because of a calf strain.

The absence of Henry would be especially disappointing. The

French star, who signed with New York in July, is supposed to face

off with fellow countryman Sebastien Le Toux, who leads the Union

with 13 goals and 10 assists.

“It’s very exciting for me,” Le Toux told Philadelphia’s

official website of facing Henry. “I’ve followed his career since I

was much younger in France. … He’s always been a huge player for

me and it’s a dream for me to play against him.”

Le Toux and the Union (7-14-7) will close out their home

schedule after already being eliminated from playoff


Philadelphia is winless in its last three games, going 0-2-1. It

fell 1-0 to Los Angeles on Oct. 7, managing only one shot in the

first half. Le Toux, who had four goals in the previous six

matches, was held off the stat sheet for the fourth time in 11


“This match against the Galaxy was high intensity and I’m sure

it will be that way against New York,” goalkeeper Brad Knighton

said. “They bring some high-profile players and we definitely want

to finish out on a high note at home.”

New York recorded a 2-1 home win over Philadelphia on April 24

after Juan Pablo Angel converted a penalty kick in the 67th