UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Last week, the Red Bulls took to the field in Columbus missing six starters due to injuries and international call-ups. But on Saturday at Red Bull Arena against Houston, New York should have almost a full complement of players available for selection.
The one area where the Red Bulls may not have their first choice is goalkeeper. Last week, starter Greg Sutton suffered a concussion in training when he went for a cross, fell over teammate Stephen Keel and hit the artificial surface head-first. Sutton had an impact concussion test this past Tuesday and will not be cleared to play this weekend.
[inline_node:331417]“Greg – we still have to wait a bit,” said assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen, who is leading training while head coach Hans Backe is in Europe attending personal matters. “He’s out, but he will be ready next week. He will take it easy this week.”
Sutton will be replaced by Bouna Coundoul, who started for New York the majority of last season and was away last week with Senegal for African Cup of Nations qualifying play.
International players like the United States’ Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream, Jamaica’s Dane Richards and Mexico captain Rafa Márquez did not train on Thursday but underwent regeneration to rehab their bodies following international play. Halvorsen expects those four players to be available on Saturday.
New York will also be boosted by the return of Thierry Henry, who sat out last Saturday against the Crew with a slight hamstring injury. Backe, who will be back in time for the game against Houston, told MLSSoccer.com earlier this week that Henry was fully recovered and Halvorsen confirmed that that Red Bulls striker was fit and available.
“He’s fit again,” Halvorsen said. “He’s been training all week.”
In an effort to get fit, Henry spent Saturday and Sunday with a team trainer working on his fitness so that he could be ready to play against the Dynamo.
“I’m not limited at all,” Henry said about his preparations.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer