Rain can't dampen Red Bulls' spirits

New York heads for higher ground while prepping for Seattle

For
the Red Bulls, there's a bit of singing in the rain going on right now.

An
unseasonably wet New Jersey spring forced the club inside on Tuesday, changing its normal practice routine in preparation for Saturday’s game on the road
against Seattle. The torrential rainfall which caused flooding and forced the
closure of local roads and schools throughout the area over the past few weeks
has surprised even the local players.

“We
all know that the northeast isn’t necessarily the most conducive for playing
soccer in the spring,” said forward John Wolyniec, who was born and bred in
Staten Island. “But even this seems like more [rain] than usual.”

Rather
than hitting the turf and tearing up the field, the team went inside for what
midfielder Seth Stammler described as a treadmill and conditioning workout. It
was a bit of a change of pace for the players, but Wolyniec said that days like
these sometimes give the body extra time to recover.

In fact, all the club did was change
Wednesday’s fitness time to Tuesday and just swap around training plans, a plan
that makes with better weather expected over the next couple days.

It’s head coach Hans Backe’s, the experience of working with
inclement weather is nothing new. Having spent the vast majority of his
coaching career in Scandinavia, the 58-year-old Backe knows how to handle
things when the weather man isn’t on the side of his training plans.

“I
would say we’ve been rather lucky, overall in a way,” Backe said. “We’ve done a
decent preseason so I can’t complain.”

With
Saturday’s game against Seattle just days away, Backe is confident that the
team will be sharp and ready to avenge last year’s 3-0 loss at Qwest Field.
Stammler said that the practice after a layoff can be a bit sloppy and that it
sometimes takes “15 minutes” to get the rust off. But Backe isn't concerned.

“We
have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to work on our playing style,” Backe said. “It
is enough in a way. I’m used to this -- it’s not a problem to get prepared for
the game.”