You can’t have Australia play in Millwall and not feature Tim Cahill.
As we reported earlier this month, the New York Red Bulls midfielder has indeed been called up for a March 5th friendly against Ecuador at “The Den.”
For Cahill, this will be a long awaited homecoming. Like his time in Everton and his current stint with New York, the Australian forward is considered quite a legend to the Millwall FC faithful. The love affair is mutual as Cahill has gone so far as to tattoo the club initials to his body.
With Socceroo veteran Lucas Neill omitted from the lineup, Cahill may also have another treat heading his way for the match; the captain’s armband. Neill, 34, has been the long-standing captain for Australia. He parted ways with Japanese side Omiya Ardija in November and is currently without club, allowing new Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou to go a younger direction instead of picking up the out-of-form veteran. Cahill is widely regarded as the second-in-line for the honor.
This situation creates a unique conundrum for New York. Cahill has twice prior traveled great distances to meet his national and club team duties — once after a match against Iraq, the other against Jordan. Both times, he managed to feature for the Red Bulls and Australia over a four-day span.
This will be the first time he tries it on three days rest. After his March 5th date in London, Cahill will have to cross eight timezones to arrive in Vancouver for the team’s March 8th opener against the Whitecaps.
As discussed on EOS prior to the preseason, Cahill is not looking to slow down heading into the tournament. However, if he is unavailable to play against the Whitecaps, New York may very well start the match — and the season — without three of their star players. Historically, neither Thierry Henry or Jamison Olave have featured for the club on artificial surfaces and Vancouver’s BC Place is home of one of the more treacherous playing surfaces in the league.