Time is running out on the plethora of draft picks and guest players trying to latch on to the New York Red Bulls, and Head Coach Mike Petke hopes they feel the crunch.
“I want to see everybody sharp and on their toes,” Petke said after Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. “The last chance to put a solid performance in physically and tactically before our opener. I’m not so concerned with the results during preseason so far because it’s preseason. We just want to look for players to be improving.
“It’s the final test on Saturday. We’ll just see if they show up.”
As of now, MLS SuperDraft pick Ian Christianson joins supplemental picks Michael Bustamante, Ryan Clark, Andrew Ribiero and guest players Tyler Ruthven, Marius Obekop, Rafhael Domingues and Peguy Luyindula as the final players in camp trying to earn their jobs with the team.
Recent chatter suggests some have already received offers (Bustamante for one) but that is not officially confirmed.
Nevertheless, Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution needs to be better than the showing against Seattle if any of these players hope to earn a contract.
“We had a plan of how we wanted to play going in,” Petke said. “There were a couple of late additions and subtractions. It had nothing to do with injuries or anything like that. We wanted to see a couple of other people and we also wanted to get certain players significant minutes to get them into game shape.
“It was tough conditions to play in, first and foremost. So I don’t know how much I am taking away from this negatively but I did see some positives in the first half, guys stepping up and being aggressive.”
Unfortunately for this bunch, it was the first teamers who drew Petke’s praise. “(Jamison) Olave continues to be a beast,” he began. “Heath (Pearce) played well.
“Everybody had their moments, had their good moments. We just didn’t have that final pass with us today and that’s something you’re going to need.”
Saturday’s third place game in this year’s Desert Diamond Cup will not be streamed nor televised. You can follow the action on the New York Red Bulls’ twitter account.