RBNY Notebook: Grella Closing In on Return

Matt Kremkau

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

imagesIt was a tough night in Kansas City on Wednesday, but Coach Jesse Marsch can be encouraged that one of his more reliable players, Mike Grella, is nearly fit. The Red Bulls’ winger has been out with a defect in his femur after an off-season of surgery, which included treatment on his left knee. He has been training and could be available for Saturday’s game at the Philadelphia Union.

“He’s trained, probably six really good days in a row,” Marsch said. “He’ll train Wednesday with the USL team, then Thursday with us and then we are very hopeful at that point that he’s ready to be included in the group.”

Grella has made more than 30 appearances in each of his two seasons with the team, scoring 16 goals and 13 assists. A healthy Grella is likely to start or be Marsch’s first choice off the bench for either Gonzalo Verón or Derrick Etienne Jr. It is also possible Grella could make a rehab start with New York Red Bulls II against Harrisburg City at MSU Soccer Park on Saturday afternoon.

Long ‘Comfortable’ in Starting Role

Red Bulls defender Aaron Long has started every game this year. His progression mirrors that of Matt Miazga in 2015, who became indispensable on the back line after injuries to Ronald Zubar. Now, because of injuries to other players, Long has grabbed the opportunity and solidified his position.

“Definitely more comfortable,” Long said. “Personally, I feel good. The team’s in good shape, we’re towards the top of the table so everything is looking good.”

Against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, Long went down for several minutes after a hard tackle by Dom Dwyer. He finished the game, but the Red Bulls have few options should he be unavailable for Saturday’s game against the Union.

NYRB II Adds Martínez

New York Red Bulls II have signed Costa Rican forward Douglas Martínez for the 2017 season. Martínez trained with the team in October 2016. He could be available for Saturday’s game.

“Douglas is a young, international player that has many of the tools we look for in an attacking player,” Coach John Wolyniec said. “We feel that his pace and energy, his aggressive mentality and determination fit in well with our style of play.”