Backe, NY still shopping ahead of season opener

Red Bulls coach eager to add defensive help to run with Ream

WALDWICK, N.J. – Even as they inch closer to the season, the Red Bulls are still eager to sign two more players ahead of their March 19 opener, head coach Hans Backe said on Monday.

While no new additions are expected to join the team before the club heads to Mexico on Friday, Backe is still keen to add a right back to the squad as cover and either a central midfielder or another center back to the senior roster.

And while the scouting and discussions continue, Backe admits that any moves might still be a few weeks off.

“Not that close; we have some names,” Backe said. “I’m confident we can find someone before the season starts.”

One option for New York could be moving Mexican international Rafa Marquez to the back line. Márquez, who will join the team in Cancún later this week and is currently training with his old club Atlas, has played as a defender for both club and country. Last year, Backe told MLSsoccer.com that moving his Designated Player from the midfield to the back four wasn’t on the top of wish list.

Now with perhaps a central midfielder available to add to the roster, Backe admits he could slide Márquez alongside Tim Ream in the center of the defense.

“There are some good central midfield players [available] that could make it easy for us to move Rafa to the back,” Backe admitted.

English forward Luke Rodgers, meanwhile, will hopefully be ready to train when the club goes to Florida, Backe said. Rodgers is still bothered by a right knee injury and is currently rehabbing with team trainer Rick Guter.

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer