New York's Tony Tchani (right) could earn the start against Chivas USA on Saturday night.
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RBNY's Mendes, Tchani could earn starts

New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said Friday that Carlos Mendes could be an option to replace Mike Petke on the team’s back line when they host Chivas USA on Saturday night.

The move comes during a taxing four-game stretch in 11 days for the Red Bulls, who have leaned heavily on their veteran defender to anchor the group.

“Mike has played every game, every 90 minutes,” Backe said.

The coach confirmed that the move is not performance-based, but rather for Mendes to bring fresh legs to the backline. Costa Rican international Roy Miller is also a possibility to crack the starting lineup, as is rookie Tony Tchani.

“He surprised me on the Wednesday game with his drive from the midfield,” Backe said of Tchani.

Backe also admitted he’d like to see more consistency from Sinisa Ubiparipovic, one of the stars of the team’s strong play in the U.S. Open Cup in recent weeks. Ubiparipovic could see more time out wide, where he has more time to play on the ball and space to make decisions [WATCH: Ubiparipovic scores vs. Houston].


Midfielder Brian Nielsen was busy doing fitness work on Friday, running laps for almost the entirety of the short session … Backe will evaluate Joel Lindpere following a calf injury on Wednesday night. Backe said he was pleased with the player’s ability to practice fully in the Friday session and the progress made to his health … John Wolyniec will start on Saturday against Chivas USA … No deal has yet been reached for Brazilian trialist Clebao, who played recently for New York in the Juventus friendly.

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.   Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at and followed at