The Football Federation of Australia announced a March 5th friendly against Ecuador set to take place in London. In a surprise twist, that match will be contended at “The Den,” home of Millwall FC.
The significance? Long before New York Red Bull talisman Tim Cahill became a beloved figure with Everton, the Australian international left a legendary legacy behind at Millwall. The love affair between club and player is so great, Cahill even tattooed the letters ‘MFC’ on his arm to commemorate his time with the club.
While it is too early to tell if he will participate in the friendly, Cahill’s name has already been plastered in the marketing for the match by the FFA. Further, the Red Bull midfielder has been busy sending retweets of the event from excited fans on his social media platform. News at Den even quotes Cahill in a tweet that has seemingly since been removed – “That’s awesome – going back to where it all started @MillwallFC.”
What does this mean for the Red Bulls? New York open their season March 8th on the West Coast against the Vancouver Whitecaps. That would mean a three-day turnaround for the 34-year-old, crossing eight time zones to ready himself for the opener. Cahill has made similar leaps to meet both his national and club team duties as a Red Bull, but never in three days. Twice during the 2012 season, Cahill featured with Australia only to fly out to New York and participate in club duties four days later — once after a match in Jordan, and a month later, after a game against Iraq.
Both times, his destination was Harrison. This time, he will have to travel to the West Coast for a match.
If unavailable, New York could see a serious deficiency in their lineup to start the season. BC Place is known for it’s notorious artificial turf. That would likely preclude both Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave from participating in the event. If Cahill is unavailable, that would mean New York could be missing their two top scorers for the encounter.