HANOVER, N.J. – The Red Bulls continued to see players shift in and out of the lineup on Friday night; as some players suffered injury setbacks, while others returned to the fray.
After starting in the team’s 1-1 draw in Orlando, Ronald Zubar missed out on New York’s 2-0 loss to D.C. United, forcing head coach Jesse Marsch to once again change up his central defense pairing. However, there is hope that the Frenchman may make a recovery for the team’s Wednesday night fixture at Red Bull Arena.
“He just picked up a little something in his groin,” Marsch said. “We had him out on the field today and he looked good. He’s potentially available for Wednesday, but he’s day-to-day. He trained all week and picked up something on Thursday so we had to scramble last minute and make some adjustments.”
Staying along the backline, Ghanaian defender Gideon Baah continues to work his way back to full fitness after missing the last two months of action. Picking up a hamstring injury in New York’s first win of 2016, Baah looks poised to play a role in the near future, earning a place in the 18 on Friday night for the first time since the team’s 4-3 victory over the Houston Dynamo on March 19.
“He has become more of a factor,” Marsch said of Baah. “We’re just trying to get him a little bit more up to speed, a little more fit, and a little bit clearer; he’s gotten better every day. With Gideon, we chose not to throw him into [Friday’s] game right away, but he would become an option for Wednesday if Ronald is not ready.”
Starting for the first time since that March 19 win, Gonzalo Veron featured for 57 minutes at RFK Stadium after overcoming a similar hamstring injury. Over the last two matches, Veron has played a total of 83 minutes, making an appearance against Orlando City SC a week prior.
His inclusion in the starting XI forced midfielder Lloyd Sam to the bench, as Marsch felt the Argentine could bring a different dimension to the Red Bulls’ attack.
“We thought that we could gain certain advantages by having Gonzalo on the field and being dangerous and putting their backline on their heels, but we really didn’t even get a grasp on the game to start to test that,” Marsch added. “That being said, he was still quite dangerous a few times in the first half. Overall, it’s a hard one to judge because we were flat as a team and he wasn’t at his best either.”
With two matches in quick succession on the horizon, the team’s depth will continue to be tested, and Marsch pointed to Veron as a key player within his roster.
“Going forward, we know that Gonzalo will be a dangerous guy and an important guy,” he said. “We just need to figure out ways to use him that benefit him and the team.”
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