The New York Red Bulls will have a little extra firepower to choose from this weekend against Toronto FC, as forward Peguy Luyindula appears to be on track for a return to the pitch.
While speaking on a conference call with members of the media Tuesday afternoon, head coach Mike Petke said Luyindula is progressing as planned from a left hamstring injury that has kept him out of the coach’s eighteen since the match against Chicago on April 7.
“I think he’s definitely on course to be available for selection against Toronto,” Petke said. “If we felt we definitely needed him for New England, he would’ve been available on the bench. But we felt comfortable in that scenario that we could do without him for the weekend to give him extra time to get some fitness, extra time to continue that healing process.”
Luyindula had spoken briefly about his conditioning ahead of that Fire match, fully admitting he was not at a level he would define as peak fitness. He also admitted to feeling a bit fatigued during some of the earlier matches, but felt the repetition and investment on the pitch would eventually lead him to where he wanted to be physically.
The Frenchman appeared in three matches for the Red Bulls this season, tallying one assist on a Thierry Henry game-winner against the Philadelphia Union. As he continues to work his way back, Luyindula remains focused on improving his awareness around the net, but also on opening up the Red Bulls’ attack with his presence out wide and on the defensive side of the ball.
As typical with players bouncing back from an injury, the Red Bulls are taking a slow-and-steady approach to Luyindula’s return. Petke believes Luyindula’s progress will amount to full training stints coming perhaps as early as Wednesday, likely no later than Thursday, barring any setbacks.
The Red Bulls take on Toronto FC this Saturday at 2:00 PM on MSG. You can also come out to the official Red Bulls viewing party at Darby Road Public House in Scotch Plains, NJ for a chance to win some great prizes and hang out with a bunch of fellow Red Bulls supporters.