Backe set to give Sassano a second chance

NYRB coach says Sassano's start in SJ was not family-related

It was the longest
80 minutes of Luke Sassano’s life.

Following his
ejection from last Saturday’s 4-0 loss to San Jose, Sassano spent much of the
first half and all of the second half feeling dejected. In his words, he let
“his team down.” Sassano said that he spent about 30 minutes feeling sorry for
himself and recovering, but then he had to put the pieces together.

“At a certain
point, you have to move on,” Sassano told MLSSoccer.com. “You can’t just dwell
on it.”

Head Coach Hans
Backe said that he anticipates Sassano seeing the field on Wednesday in a U.S.
Open Cup play-in match and that while he hasn’t seen the video of the red card
foul on the Earthquakes’ Bobby Convey, he has spoken to several people who said
it clearly was an ejection worthy offense. What makes matters worse is
that Sassano was making his first league start of the year.

And the start
didn’t happen just because Sassano was playing in front of friends and family
in San Jose, as some have reported.

“He’s been brilliant
in every training session,” Backe said, praising the versatile player for his
skill and effort on the practice field.

Sassano said that
he is ready to bounce back and the memory of Saturday night’s red card won’t
haunt him further. Wednesday night’s Open Cup match against New England will
provide the perfect opportunity for Sassano to get the bad taste out of his
mouth.

“It will be good to
go out there, to build on the opportunity I had to start last week and
hopefully perform well,” said Sassano, who said he won’t be shy on the field despite
the ejection.

Matches like the
U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday are important for Sassano and other players to see
extended minutes. With the Red Bulls lineup projected to feature Chris
Albright, Andy Boyens and John Wolyniec – three players with national team
experience – the Red Bulls have a deep talent pool to choose from. So
opportunities like the cup match become important for players like Sassano.

“This is probably
the deepest team we’ve had since I got here,” Sassano said. “We all work really
hard and really well together. If we keep doing what we did in the cup a few
weeks ago, it is something for us all to build on.”

And for Luke
Sassano, any opportunity to continue building his career, even if construction
was halted on Saturday, is a good thing.

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.