Brian Nielsen

Nielsen set to start vs. Philly

Better late than never for the New York Red Bulls, who welcomed new signing Brian Nielsen to practice on Friday morning at Montclair State University.

A young midfielder who has represented Denmark at every youth international level, Nielsen joins the team as a left-sided winger who is being touted as part of the answer to the team’s attacking problems. The Red Bulls have scored just four goals in as many games this season.

In addition to the morning practice with the team, which Nielsen termed a “good training,” the winger also passed his physical on Friday and received his international transfer certificate. This makes him eligible to play in Saturday’s contest against Philadelphia. New York head coach Hans Backe told reporters on Tuesday that he was planning on starting the player this weekend if he should arrive.

Nielsen is seen as the team’s first true winger since Dave van den Bergh departed after the 2008 season.

“I’m technical, a faster player,” Nielsen said. “Great shoot[er].”

Nielsen was courted by Red Bulls’ sporting director Erik Solér, who flew to Denmark earlier in the month to lure the player away. Nielsen told the Danish press that he had researched his new club online and said on Friday that he was fully aware of Red Bull Arena: “I’ve seen in on YouTube,” he said.

He is hopeful of a quick adjustment to New York on and off the field, but the league balls have troubled Nielsen, who said that they are much lighter compared to what he has seen in Europe.

“I just need to figure out the new balls here,” Nielsen said.

To make room, forward Mac Kandji, who suffered a training injury on Tuesday, was moved to the injured reserve list.

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.