Red Bulls practice report: Goldthwaite, others return

Goldthwaite, Kandji, Robinson making way back to match fitness

Kevin Goldthwaite

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

The Red Bulls returned to the practice field at Montclair State
University on Tuesday, having captured 10 points in their last four
games.

On the training field were mostly reserves and spot
starters as temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees during the worst
heat wave in a decade to hit New Jersey.

The only members of
the starting XI from Sunday’s 1-1 tie in Colorado who took the field
were Danleigh Borman, Tim Ream and Dane Richards. All three participated in just
fitness work as part of their regeneration following the match. The
players participated in cardiovascular training before heading back to
the team’s facility for some training in the gym.

A welcome
sight to the practice field was Kevin Goldthwaite, who
is recovering well from injury. The central defender has not made an
appearance all season but was on the field doing conditioning work.
Goldthwaite ran laps and did sprints and said he was “feeling really
good” despite the torrid temperatures.

Also on the field after
making appearances last week were Mac Kandji and Carl Robinsion. Both
players participated and were active in passing drills and the
small-sided game that ended practice. Robinson, who told MLSSoccer.com
last week that his knee was feeling the best it has in his professional
career, moved fluidly on the field. Head coach Hans Backe said it was
his first full training session with the team since Robinson’s knee was
scoped.

Kandji, who is also recovering from a knee injury,
looked almost game ready, taking a blocked shot off the leg from Mike Petke and one-timing the effort beautifully
past Greg Sutton from 25 yards
out.

Backe told MLSSoccer.com that the team is nearly full
strength right now, with only Kevin Goldthwaite and Giorgi Chirgadze the
long-term concerns. Backe said that he was pleased with midfielder Dane
Richards, who went 90 minutes in Sunday’s game against Colorado. For
Richards, it was his first appearance since a June 2 hamstring injury
had shelved him.

“He recovered very well, but he was exhausted
after the match,” Backe said. “He had a rather good game, I think.”

One player that might not see the field anytime soon is Brian Nielsen. Backe seemed frustrated that
the Danish youth international is struggling with a knee injury. Nielsen
went nearly 90 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup game in Harrisburg last
week, but he has not trained regularly since. Nielsen will likely not be
available this weekend against D.C. United—and maybe even further down
the road.

“I’m not sure his status right now to be honest.
This knee is a problem,” Backe said. “He might need to have surgery on
it. It keeps causing him problems.”

Backe, a fitness buff,
stayed at practice to run and train, spending time in the team’s gym
well after many of the players had left for the showers.

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs. He can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and
followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012