Backe expects to be back on Red Bulls sideline

Minor surgery slows down the NY boss, doesn't stop

Hans Backe, New York Red Bulls

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For the first time in his nearly three decades as a head
coach, New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe missed a game last Saturday. The Red
Bulls won 1-0 away to Seattle, but Backe was back in his hotel room, feeling

This weekend, just days after undergoing a minimally invasive
procedure to remove his gallbladder after being diagnosed with cholecystitis,
the Swede plans to be back on the sideline when the Red Bulls take on Chivas
USA on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.

Backe said that after the surgery, the issue was completely
resolved. He didn’t fly with the team on Thursday but anticipates making a
separate flight on Friday.

During the match with Seattle, Backe spent much of the game
dozing off and on, fighting intense “stomach pains.” He calls last Saturday the
“worst night of his life” and he eventually went to the hospital.

He was unable to watch the game because the hotel did not
carry Fox Soccer Channel, but he received messages from Red Bulls’ sporting
director Erik Solér, who gave him updates every 15 minutes, according to Backe.
Even with the updates, Backe concedes that he spent much of that time sleeping,
but he got through it.

Backe did have the chance to watch a tape of the Red Bulls’
victory, their first win on the road in 27 games, on Sunday. He was pleased
with the effort and praised the job done by assistant coach Richie Williams,
who took control of the team in his absence.

After the game, Williams told that maybe it was a good thing that an ill Backe was unable to
watch the match from the hotel room, due to the high drama of the Seattle
attack pushing for an equalizer. Williams teased that it was best for Backe’s
stomach if he didn’t have to watch the Sounders’ repeated forays into the final

Backe, from his perspective, wasn’t sickened by what he saw of
the game film. He credited the New York back line with cutting down on Seattle’s
chances, saying that even if Seattle had the run of play, the Red Bulls still
had the better and more dangerous chances.

“It was a rock solid effort,” Backe said. “Really excellent.”