By ANTHONY J. MERCED
New York Red Bulls winger Mike Grella is close to returning to action. Grella has been out since the early weeks of the season with pain in his surgically repaired leg. While the injury was said to not be associated with the operation, the team took extra precautions and discovered that there may have been a defect in his femur. That appears to have been cleared up.
The inclusion of Grella could not come at a better time for the club. It is going back to the 4-2-3-1 formation, which has been a success the past two seasons. The Red Bulls dominated D.C. United last weekend using that scheme. Considering the struggles of Daniel Royer, it is possible that Grella could slot into the starting line-up against Columbus on Saturday. It is more likely that he will see time after the 60th minute, substituting for either Royer or Alex Muyl.
After a trip to Argentina, Gonzalo Verón is back and is training. Coach Jesse Marsch is still being cautious with the designated player who has yet to play sustained minutes since joining the team in 2015. The latest setback came in the CONCACAF Champions League back in February when Verón sustained a leg injury that has kept him out of action since. The winger returned to training on Tuesday but isn’t expected play against the Crew. It is a possibility that he could play for Red Bulls II either this week or next.
A 3-1 win over Orlando City B ushered in the good feelings for the Red Bulls’ USL affiliate after two straight losses. The win over Eastern Conference opposition was notable for the play of Junior Flemmings, 21. The Jamaican has returned from knee surgery and did not start the season. Now that he has returned to his familiar position on the wing, his play has opened up and his movement has been dynamic. He scored the game’s opening goal with fancy footwork and looked dangerous throughout.
In addition, the French international Vincent Bezecourt has been New York’s best player so far, scoring a goal and notching an assist against Orlando B. Bezecourt had part of his 2016 season cut short by injury, but has emerged an essential part of Coach John Wolyniec‘s lineup.