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