Missing Red Bulls players making for a difficult preseason

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

With the first stint of preseason games in Arizona out of the way, Jesse Marsch expressed how difficult it was to prepare for the impending CONCACAF Champions League while missing key players.

“It’s been a little difficult because we’re missing some key players,” said Jesse Marsch. “We’re going to have to crunch some things in pretty quickly and get guys up to speed, but I think it was important to have this group together.”

At this point New York has played three games without star players Sacha Kljestan, Luis Robles and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Kljestan and Robles were called into the January U.S. Men’s national team training camp while Wright-Phillips was home seeing the birth of his child. The three are expected to rejoin the team for the upcoming preseason fixtures.

Of further concern is the injury of Mike Grella and the status of Alex Muyl, who took a hit during the New England Revolution match which was of concern to the team.

“The energy and worth ethic have been great,” said Marsch when discussing how his team has performed thus far. “It’s a lot of young guys and kind of continue to challenge them and integrate them into what we do. Now, when we get home, and then to Sacramento and back here again, we’ll have two weeks to really ramp ourselves up and get ready for the Champions League.”

New York plays the Vancouver Whitecaps in the knockout stage of the Champions League on February 22nd at Red Bull Arena.