Majority of Red Bulls Back at the Grind, Despite Off Week

No rest for the weary despite having an off week as the Red Bulls eye a playoff spot

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – So much for having the week off.

The New York Red Bulls officially returned to practice on Friday morning, but head coach Hans Backe revealed that up to 15 of his players took part in training sessions earlier this week. The Red Bulls suffered their second home loss of the season, a 2-0 defeat to the Chicago Fire, last Saturday, and the coaching staff decided that some of the players needed to get some extra work in before the official full-team practice on Friday.

“They were in Tuesday, Wednesday, not that much on Thursday,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “But a lot of guys, 13, 14, 15 guys, did Tuesday, Wednesday, so they look quite OK.”

Backe said the team will continue to train on Saturday and Sunday before having a day off on Monday, and that he is hopeful that the three players away on international duty (Tim Cahill, Joel Lindpere and Roy Miller) can be back in time to get a couple of training sessions under their belt before the Red Bulls’ pivotal home game against Sporting Kansas City on Oct. 20.

“If we’re lucky, they should be back Wednesday evening, so they can train twice, Thursday and Friday,” said Backe.

Recently recovered from their injuries, the trio of goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, forward Corey Hertzog and midfielder Lloyd Sam were all in training on Friday. But Sam (above) was limited to mostly individual work with the ball and did not practice with the rest of the team during their small-sided games. Instead, Sam worked on crossing and finishing drills.

Two players not in training on the cold Friday morning were center back Stephen Keel and goalkeeper Luis Robles. Keel was given permission to attend a wedding while Robles is away due to the birth of his baby, according to a team spokesman.