The New York Red Bulls’ back line will certainly have a different look this Saturday when the team ships off to Texas for an 8:30 pm ET start against FC Dallas.
Although the team managed a point against Vancouver this past weekend, the game did come with some additional costs.
Defenders Rafa Marquez and Jan Gunnar Solli will each serve a one-game suspension against Dallas. Marquez received his fifth yellow card during the 31st minute against Vancouver, while Solli was hit with a straight red during extra time in the first half. Not only did Solli's red mean New York would have to play the remainder of that game down a man, but the long-term effect results in two less players eligible to play the back line against Dallas. Nevertheless, the team is staffed well for these circumstances as they look to get a ‘W’ on the road this weekend.
“We’ve got guys with experience, a good bench – guys that have played a lot of games in this league and there’s no excuse,” said defender Carlos Mendes. “We need to get three points. These ties aren’t going to get it done so we’ll be ready and there’s no excuse. I think all the guys coming off the bench are great players who will help.”
In addition to suspensions, New York will be without Roy Miller. The six-foot-two defender suffered a leg injury during national team play and will remain out of the lineup for two to three weeks. Saturday’s Vancouver match was the first one this season that Miller was unfit to play in, thereby removing a durable player from Coach Hans Backe’s lineup considerations this weekend.
“The guys we have can defend well, definitely,” said Backe. “That’s what the main target for the back four is – [to] train every session, out working with the defense.”
In light of the aforementioned players remaining out of Saturday’s lineup, the team has a healthy staff to work with. Teemu Tainio, who returns from a one-game suspension for a red card received against New England, may be one of those options. Chris Albright and Mendes may be others. While Backe is still considering which players will be asked to answer the call against Dallas, the fact is a number are available, willing and prepared to fill the role.
“This is what you train all year for,” Mendes said. “So guys have opportunities, including myself, and we’re ready for the challenge.”