HARRISON, NJ | It’s official; despite participating in practice Friday afternoon, the New York Red Bulls will be without Jamison Olave and Thierry Henry when they face the Seattle Sounders this Sunday.
And for those holding out hope that the duo may make an appearance off the bench, adjust your expectations.
“Olave and Thierry will not be traveling,” head coach Mike Petke revealed Friday.
The final confirmation puts to rest a week’s worth of speculation over the duo’s availability for this top-of-the-table clash. The New York Red Bulls hold a slim one-point lead over the Seattle Sounders in the Supporters Shield race, though Seattle does have a valuable two games in hand on New York.
Petke insists the team will put out a competitive lineup. Now comes the hard part; making up for Henry and Olave’s absence.
Though a daunting task, the Red Bulls boss believes the New York has the depth to cover, especially with a healthy Lloyd Sam and Tim Cahill ready to perform this Sunday.
“If we are about two players, well then, we might as well not go to Seattle,” Petke noted. “I mean, it’s two players. They are very important players of course but the quicker the way we get it out of our head they are not going to be here, the better off we will be.
“It’s not about two players; it’s about the eleven that suit up,” he notes. “I have confidence in the eleven that suit up.”
Surprisingly, despite their Eastern Conference position, and status as a Supporters Shield contender, Petke believes that the team would be playing the underdog role with or without Henry and Olave.
“Are we the underdog? Of course we are the underdog,” Petke concedes. “Even with Thierry and Olave there, we would be the underdog – and that’s fine.
“We’ll see the type of mentality and character we show in this game.”