Meara, Sene to play big roles in Red Bulls’ Champions League opener vs. FAS


Let the balancing act begin.

After their two week break in action, the Red Bulls began an unforgivable six week run that will see their roster stretched as they play matches every three to four days. That run began in promising fashion with a win against Montreal. Now, they face El Salvador’s CD FAS to kick off their CONCACAF Champions League run.

“I’m putting out what I consider to be a very experienced squad and we’re looking to win this game,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. “We’re looking to go out and win it early and get out of there tomorrow night injury free and three points in hand in the group and then get ready for D.C.”

The Red Bulls enter a group alongside FAS and the Montreal Impact. The format calls for a pair of back-to-back matches against each opponent to determine who advances from the group. Currently, the Montreal Impact have taken both the home and away leg against their Salvadorian competition. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are just entering the fray.

“We understand what’s going on,” Petke said. “Montreal got out to two quick starts. We know the tie breaker scenarios, so we know that we need to go out and we need to win tomorrow.”

With the U.S. Open Cup behind them, and their postseason chances still up in the air, the Red Bulls are playing a delicate balancing act to stay competitive on all fronts. Their depth will be tested, beginning Tuesday night. Ryan Meara will be earning a rare start for New York in this encounter, giving red-hot netminder Luis Robles a break in action.

“Anytime you can get a game with the first team you want to take advantage of it,” Meara said. “I think this whole Champions League in general is a big opportunity for the whole team so I’m kind of looking at it as the same.

“Anytime you get a chance to play, you’re excited. It’s been awhile for me, personally, but I’m excited to come out and play. We’re putting a good team out [and] we want to win. Hopefully tomorrow night we’ll start off with three points.”

“It’s a great opportunity for [Meara],” Petke added. “He’s a guy that I’ve always liked, it’s just, like he knows and everybody knows he’s been in the unfortunate situation of being behind a goalkeeper who has done tremendously well this year in the league. It’s a good opportunity for him tomorrow night, I wish I had more games to do this. I wish there was more of these games but also I wish we were 12 points ahead in the East so that I could do things like that. Right now Luis is doing well and I now Ryan’s very capable and he’s very excited about tomorrow night and I’m excited for him to play.”

Meara won’t be the only depth option to earn significant minutes. Newcomer Saer Sene is expected to get a long look from the club as perhaps their primary striker against FAS.

“For me, personally, it’s very important to get back on the field,” he said. “I have the chance [Tuesday night] to show what I can bring to the team and show my quality up top. Everything will be great.”

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  • Tony

    So Montreal puts out their best team and the red bulls are “treating this game seriously” reporters need to blast them for these comments! By the way it is just 4 games the red bulls put more heart into 4 exhibition game

    • Dave from Dix Hills

      Totally agree here.

  • MP Vaughan

    I don’t mind some “depth options” getting some minutes but I don’t want them to put out a pure reserve team. They need to take this competition seriously – if they do, they have a good chance to advance from the group.

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