UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Technically, the New York Red Bulls head into Saturday’s matinee match at PPL Park against the Philadelphia Union with a full roster. However, several banged-up key players might miss match.
Thierry Henry sat out on Thursday after picking up a knock during training on Wednesday. Rafa Márquez spent the training session “rehabbing after [playing] 90 minutes with Mexico,” according to the club.
New York’s head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com he was uncertain whether he’d have either available for Saturday’s match.
The Red Bulls will definitely be without Roy Miller, who is suspended due to yellow-card accumulation. In addition, the back line will most likely be missing defender Mike Petke, who did not train again on Thursday due to a calf strain. Backe said that Petke will begin training Monday.
There was good news for New York on Thursday. Andy Boyens, Dane Richards and Bouna Coundoul returned from international duty. Coundoul, in particular, looked very sharp.
Looking at Philadelphia: Backe was very complimentary of the recent form of the Union and anticipates a tough match on Saturday against a club that will not be in the playoffs. He sympathized with Peter Nowak’s struggles to build the expansion team.
“The problem for them is that they’ve had individual mistakes and haven’t taken their chances,” Backe said. He went on the say that individual mistakes are something you can’t really coach against and happen as part of the game.
The Red Bulls beat the Union twice this year, once in the regular season and then a 2-1 win in the US Open Cup. After the second match, Nowak made his team run sprints on the field at Red Bull Arena.
Quick Kicks: Dane Richards scored a penalty kick for Jamaica this past weekend, his first from the spot for his national team. Richards said he hasn’t taken a penalty kick since his college days at Clemson. ... Despite being called up for the national team, Bouna Coundoul did not play in Senegal’s 7-0 win over Mauritius.
Carey Talley did not train with the team on Thursday as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. ... During a small-sided game, Juan Pablo Angel scored on a beautiful header off a left-footed cross from Tim Ream.
Sporting his horns and a painted red face, Red Bulls fan Johnny Toro was on hand at training, giving photos to the players from when they posed with him at training, horns and all. ... More than 200 New York fans are expected to bus, train and automobile down to PPL Park, making it the largest contingent of supporters ever at the new stadium in Philadelphia.
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012.