PETKE: Arsenal match is historic and we will go out and compete

Petke looks forward to Arsenal challenge

The New York Red Bulls will be action this weekend, put not for your usual MLS regular-season tilt. The club welcomes Arsenal FC to Red Bull Arena this Saturday for the New York Cup. Kickoff is set for 5 PM with the match being televised live on ESPN2.

Thierry Henry will face his former club for a second time as a member of the New York Red Bulls. Henry and the Red Bulls participated and won the 2011 Emirates Cup at Emirates Stadium, hosted by Arsenal.

Head coach Mike Petke spoke about what Saturday means for his captain.

“Of course, this is not only a big game for the Red Bulls but for Thierry. He’s a legend there and possibly the most famous player to ever play there. Like I said, just because of that reason there doesn’t mean Thierry is going to play 90 minutes,” said Petke.

“We’re going to sit down with him, sit down with our training staff, and certain players and figure out what the best way to go is. Thierry will play in this game, of course, it’s just a matter of what is the smartest way to go about it based on “part rest and one part big game coming up a couple days after that. Whichever route we go, we’re going to field a competitive team and hopefully it’s a great game.”

With an important league game against Real Salt Lake looming not far after the match with Arsenal, Petke and his staff are excited at the opportunity for players to get some competitive minutes against a club like Arsenal.

“We do have some guys who are a bit tired but also like you said, it’s a big game, and it’s going to be on national TV, it’ll be a packed house. We need to go out and compete,” said Petke.

“We’re in the process, right now, of deciding on that and how to go about this game; specifically because we have a game four days later that is a big one in Salt Lake. Obviously guys won’t be playing extensive minutes but it will be difficult to give key players a full rest.”

“After talking to the players and analyzing them today, their first day back, and the days to come, we’re going to put out the most competitive lineup that we can.”