One of the big pieces of news coming out of camp this week was the rumored injury of Juninho Pernambucano. MLS Soccer caught up with Petke who confirmed he was taking “precautionary” action with the 37 year old veteran due to some calf tightness experienced during training. Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, the rookie coach downplayed the severity of the situation.
“It’s really very simple,” he said. “We know the level where (Juninho) is at. We are more than ecstatic about it. We know in detail about Juninho as a player what he can bring for us.
“At this early stage, right now it really is not necessary for us to have a look at him. We have other players at camp we need to have a look at.”
BATTLE FOR THE BACKLINE
Amongst those other players are Ryan Meara and Luis Robles who are battling it out for the starting spot. “It will be a good competition,” Petke said. “I know that both their personalities are one that whoever is posted for a game, the other one is not going to be a problem, not going to be a cancer if you want to say that.”
Petke has taken special interest in Meara’s development as the rookie comes back from a pair of hip surgeries after an outstanding start to his career early last season. “Ryan is coming back from the injury now. He is actually ahead of schedule,” he said.
One of Petke’s tasks this offseason is to make sure Meara returns, but the right way. “You are a big part of the future of this club,” he tells the Fordham product.
“The last thing we need is for him to rush back and get hurt.”
While Ian Christianson, Ryan Clark and Michael Bustamonte – the Red Bulls first three draft choices – are with the team in sunny Florida, the remaining four draft choices have all but disappeared. Last year, a similar situation occurred where none of the supplemental choices were called into camp after their selection.
Is this a case of deja vu?
Petke says it won’t be. Ben Fisk, Marc Cintron, Andrew Ribeiro and Stephane Diop will all be joining the club in New York and possibly on their return flight to Florida to, as the Red Bulls coach put it, “give them a fair look as they deserve.”
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
- The Red Bulls will take on Malmo FF of the Swedish first division Thursday of next week. Start time is TBD.
- The first preseason match is here and you can watch along. The Red Bulls have arranged for live streaming of their 9:30am encounter against the Crew tomorrow morning. Please visit NewYorkRedBulls.com to check out the action.
- Finally, Roy Miller has been called up to the Costa Rican National team. Many Red Bull fans have voiced their displeasure with his 2012 performance. To Petke, 2013 means a clean slate. “Roy has been doing well and him going up to the national team tells you again what kind of player he is,” he said. “He knows what I expect of him and to show you what kind of professional he is, he expects the same of himself.”