UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – With just four games remaining in their regular season, the Red Bulls back line will get a boost with the return of defender Roy Miller (above, left). The incumbent starter at left back looks as though he'll be available for the starting XI on Saturday in Toronto for the first time in more than a month.
The Costa Rican international last played in a 2-2 tie at New England on Aug. 20, but then returned from national team duty with a hamstring injury. He made his return this past weekend as he sat on the bench for New York’s 2-0 win over Portland.
“With Roy, he’s back now and OK,” head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “He had a full session today, his first, so he’s back.”
The news on Chris Albright is better as well, though his status is a bit more muddled. Having left early in the midweek loss to Real Salt Lake, the veteran fullback was originally diagnosed with a calf strain that could keep him out for four to six weeks.
“[The medical staff] said it looks better than they thought,” Backe said. “[But] it could be the whole season – just don’t know.”
Márquez at practice
Having served his club-mandated suspension on Saturday night, Designated Player Rafa Márquez returned to the squad on Monday for training. The defender worked with the reserve team because much of the first team was in regeneration and not on the field.
Márquez did not meet with the media on Monday but did recently clarify his flap last week, when he called out his teammates for not playing at his “level” following a 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake. The Mexican star opened up on Sunday on Univisión's Republica Deportiva about his controversial comments.
“It was misinterpreted," Márquez said. "It wasn’t my intention. I spoke to my teammates to apologize that it wasn’t my intention to make these remarks. But as usual, they’re misinterpreted, and people aim to damage people and myself. And I’m not like this. I’m not the type of person who goes on or puts blame on others for bad results. It’s a team and we all lose together and win together.”
After watching his team's defeat of Portland from a luxury suite at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, Márquez went down to the locker room to congratulate his teammates, MLSsoccer.com learned.
Winger Giorgi Chirgadze was at training on Monday and looks set to rejoin the team.
The first-ever academy player signed by the Red Bulls, Chirgadze was excused before the start of the season to attend to family matters.
Despite being away from the senior squad, Chirgadze had continued to play for the academy and Backe had a conversation with his coach about his progress and effort.
The 20-year-old’s play has been good enough to warrant another look from Backe with an eye toward rejoining the first team in full, most likely in January.
“Doing mostly work now with the fitness guys,” Backe said. “He will train with those guys again individually and then we’ll see what happens and how much work he needs in terms of his conditioning. But he’s very talented, a very talented player.”
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.