Red Bulls sending depleted side for critical CCL match

IMAGE, MONTREAL IMPACT WEBSITE

The New York Red Bulls are trying to keep competitive as they traverse through the crowded month of September, mired in CONCACAF Champions League and regular season fixtures.

With their fourth match in 11 days just ahead, they will have to hope their young guns can carry the load.

Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Bradley Wright-Phillips, along with standout left back Ambroise Oyongo, look to be out of Wednesday’s Champions League match against the Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium.

“Obviously the injuries we have right now – Bradley Wright [-Phillips], [Tim] Cahill’s hurting, Thierry’s [Henry] hurting – all the other guys are hampered with tiredness,” head coach Mike Petke said after Tuesday’s training in Hanover.

That has forced the Red Bulls to rely on their bench players to carry the flag for the club. Their efforts to field a proper side began this week with Connor Lade earning a recall from the New York Cosmos.  Outside of their returning homegrown player, New York will also be counting on role-players like Ruben Bover, Armando and the seldom-used Damien Perrinelle to keep the club competitive.

“We’re giving almost an entire team an opportunity tomorrow,” Petke said.  “And you look at the injuries that we have right now, guys hurting, three games in a week, a big game against Seattle. I’m confident that the team I put out there is going to do what it takes – I know they’re going to work hard, I know [what] they’re going to be working like, and I know they’re going to do everything they can to get a result.

“We’ll be taking it seriously,” he said, adding,”but the way the league’s set up and the amount of games that we’ve had recently, and the position we’re in in the league, this is why you go to give guys opportunities and you get new guys and fresh legs on.”

The loss of their talented attacking trio would be bad enough, but further changes could be coming for New York. Standout winger Lloyd Sam has missed all of one match all season for the Red Bulls and is well over due for a rest. Similarly, keeper Luis Robles has only managed a break in action for the last round of CCL matches.

With their season all but dead, the Montreal Impact are tossing their hopes into the Champions League and will likely present New York a formidable road challenge. It is Petke’s hope that the youngsters and role-players can hold up the fort.

“It’s very obvious they’re putting everything into this competition,” Petke notes.  “We’re taking it very seriously, but we are in fourth place in the league and we have six games left and we have a huge game against Seattle coming off three straight games, so we have some guys that most of them we need to rest. Need to.”

Currently, the Impact sit atop their CCL group with two victories over FAS.  FAS has been eliminated, losing all three of their matches, including one at Red Bull Arena.  A draw keeps New York alive in the tournament but a victory would tie them for first with pending matches against the Impact at home and FAS in El Salvador.


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