Backe Faces Tough Choices as Red Bulls Return to Health

Backe faces a number of tough choices regarding the Starting XI as players return from injury

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Now the decisions will begin to prove tougher for New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe.

Having spent most of the season filling out his starting lineups with whatever remaining healthy bodies he had left, Backe will have nearly a complete roster to choose from for the Red Bulls’ third match this season against the Montreal Impact (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). 

Heath Pearce, Jan Gunnar Solli and Ryan Meara are all back from their respective knocks, while Rafa Márquez is still dealing with his and will miss New York’s first trip to Stade Saputo.

“Rafa will not be available,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com following Thursday morning’s practice session. “Pearce, Solli, yes. [Teemu] Tainio we wait, too, for the [Tottenham Hotspur friendly on July 31].”

Márquez is not the only played sidelined for Saturday’s match. Starting right back Brandon Barklage has also been ruled out with a hamstring injury he sustained in the first half of the Red Bulls’ 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union last weekend.

“It looks like it’s quite a soft one,” Backe said. “He will do some field work next week, so it’s probably maximum 10 days.”

If there was any doubt about Thierry Henry’s status for the Impact game after taking part in the MLS All-Stars’ 3-2 win over Chelsea at PPL Park on Wednesday night, Backe washed it away Thursday. Backe said Henry would undergo treatment after playing 55 minutes that saw him assist on the opener, and he added that his star striker would take part in the team’s light training session on Friday.

Backe did not touch on recent acquisition Tim Cahill’s availability for Saturday, but given that his introductory press conference is not until next Monday, it is safe to say the Red Bulls’ third Designated Player will not be suiting up against Montreal.