Following a huge statement win over the Montreal Impact this past weekend, the New York Red Bulls will now put their depth to the test in a friendly against French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais when the two sides face off Tuesday at 8 PM (Watch live on MSG, starting with the 7:30 PM pre-game show).
Of course, this is a busy week for the club on all levels, as the Red Bulls reserves followed up Saturday’s match with one of their own Sunday, a 0-0 draw against Montreal. That’s a lot of mileage in a short amount of time, especially with this upcoming weekend’s match on the road in Toronto.
That could be why Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke is thinking about mixing it up a bit more Tuesday night in an effort to give some of the younger talent a chance to go up against a top-flight club like Lyon.
“I’m hoping to get everybody 45 minutes,” Petke said. “There might be one or two exceptions. Take it as instead of training in the morning, to get their training done against a team like Lyon.”
For Petke, the emphasis heading into this match is two-fold: on one hand, you want to compete and get the best out of your players. On the other hand, he’s aware of the busy week and the season ahead, and wants to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to his players’ health.
“My expectations are for them to go out, do simple things, play simple, get the ball moving,” he said. “I would love it if we got a result, I would love it if we got a goal, but our main focus is no injuries and to get a bit of a run in.”
Lyon may find itself in a similar position, albeit one in which the rotating of players is more for the benefit of experience than rest. The club’s match against New York will be its second pre-season match, as head coach Remi Garde and company return to Red Bull Arena for the first time since claiming the 2012 Trophee des Champions.
“Last year it was very important for us to win the Trophee des Champions,” Garde said. “It gave us a lot of momentum in the season so we hope that it will be the same. Tomorrow is the game, it is our second pre-season game. We worked very hard for the last three weeks so we don’t know exactly what the game will be tomorrow, but we are ready for it.”
Following this week’s friendly action, the Red Bulls head back on the road for a Saturday match against Toronto FC at 4 PM ET. Watch all the action live on MSG, as the Red Bulls look to gain another three big points in the Eastern Conference standings.