Stammler ready to make 2010 debut for Red Bulls

New York midfielder hoping to feature against Seattle

Seth Stammler, New York Red Bulls

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For New York Red Bulls midfielder Seth Stammler, it’s about time.

Fresh off a 45-minute appearance in a friendly match against Army on
Monday, the six-year veteran is getting closer to his season debut and is
optimistic that he is ready to play on Saturday against Seattle.

Stammler, who injured his hamstring several weeks ago during training,
had to sit out Saturday’s MLS opener against Chicago. Worse, the
longest-tenured member of the team missed out on the two gala events at the
brand new Red Bull Arena—the 3-1 exhibition win over Brazilian side Santos and
the 1-0 season-opening victory over Chicago.

“This is something I’ve heard about for six years,” Stammler told
MLSsoccer.com after training on Tuesday. “It is frustrating to not be a part of
it right now.”

Stammler has proven his mettle with the club since being drafted by
New York in 2004. He’s survived six different head coaches, and his ability to
play multiple positions has proven its worth to each one. During this year’s
preseason, he saw time along the back line and even on the left wing in addition
to his normal role as a defensive midfielder.

“That’s the good thing about being the utility man,” Stammler said.
“You don’t get pigeonholed.”

But new head coach Hans Backe may have just holed that pigeon.

“I think he’s a central midfielder,” Backe declared when asked by
MLSsoccer.com.

Rain on Tuesday forced the Red Bulls inside for conditioning work, but
Stammler said he is close to match readiness and feels like he can go full
speed this week in practice. If hadn’t been for the rain, he is confident he would
have been out there on the field preparing for Saturday’s match.

The Red Bulls lost last March to the Sounders in Seattle by a 3-0
score in the home side’s first-ever match. Three months later, New York held
the playoff-bound Sounders to a 1-1 draw at Giants Stadium, a result that
Stammler said is more accurate of how these two teams are matched up. But
Seattle’s home-field advantage is always going to be a factor. While the
midfielder missed last year’s road game against Seattle as he was recovering from
a knee injury, he knows that the team will face a hostile and seething crowd
and that this Seattle team is one to not overlook.

“They
did well last year,” Stammler said of Seattle. “Obviously, they’re going to get
a lot of respect from us.”