Eddie Johnson, Tim Cahill out, Pontius in for Red Bulls, DC encounter

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Both the New York Red Bulls and DC United will go into Wednesday’s crucial match shorthanded.

Several reports out of DC have striker Eddie Johnson missing out on the encounter, and despite reports to the contrary, Tim Cahill looks set to miss his second game while out on international duty as well.

“I think [Cahill] is going to be landing some point today or later tonight,” head coach Mike Petke said after Tuesday’s training session.  “I have not made the decision yet, but I mean, he’s played two games and flying all day. He hasn’t practiced with the team. I don’t know, I definitely have to sit back before I throw my 18 out there to figure that out.”

Coping without Cahill is nothing new for the Red Bulls.  The 34-year-old Australian legend has spent several games out while pursuing his international obligations. In his absence, several players have stepped up including Peguy Luyindula, Eric Alexander and Ambroise Oyongo.  However, Petke will have to play a balancing act in order not to tax his side during a brutal September stretch.

“Well, now for the next three weeks we play Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday. It’s just all about, honestly, every practice is going to be  recovery and preparation more in a talking sense as far as playing a lot,” Petke explained.  “So it’s all about maintaining their bodies right now to be honest with you, that’s it.”

While Cahill has been red-hot for country (10 goals in 17 appearances), his club stats have dropped significantly from last year’s rate (one goal in 17 appearances).  New York compensated nicely for his absence against Sporting KC this past weekend and will look to repeat that against DC.

For DC, they may be looking at a familiar face to fill in Johnson’s boots.  While a Fabian Espindola, Luis Silva tandem is more than likely, Chris Pontius is set for selection on Wednesday after being out for the entirety of 2014.  Pontius also has the nasty reputation of beating New York on a consistent basis, scoring six goals through 10 head-to-head encounters.

His presence gives New York another option to prepare for. However much of a wildcard Pontius may be, Petke is not all that concerned with his possible inclusion.

“I mean, is that breaking news? Is that world soccer news? Pontius is a good player, he’s a good young player. He hasn’t played in so long, having said that, I’m glad for him personally that he’s back because I like him and it’s good for the league, but they’re in first place and they’ve been in first place without him,” Petke said.  “We’re worrying about their whole team to be honest with you.”

  • Andrew Bissonette

    The only thing Petke should even consider with Cahill is if he wants to put him in the 18 to use him in the last 5 minutes if we need a goal. Other than that, he should have no part in this game.