HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls’ quest to pick up their first road points of the season just got tougher, as Teemu Tainio and Wilman Conde have been ruled out of Saturday’s match at Columbus (3 pm ET, MSG, Univision Deportes, MLS LIVE).
Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe confirmed on Friday that both players would be sidelined for the game at Crew Stadium with the knocks they picked up during the week of training and in last weekend's victory against the Impact.
Tainio (above) has ligament damage in his knee, according to Backe, which could rule him out for four to six weeks. The Finnish midfielder sustained the injury during Thursday’s training session.
“I think we will be quite tested,” Backe said of his team’s depth in midfield without Tainio. “The thing with Teemu is he’s very unlucky because balance is very important in soccer in the middle of the park. … If you lose the balance in the middle of the park, you are quite vulnerable then.”
Conde, meanwhile, has not trained since picking up a groin strain in the waning moments of the Red Bulls’ 5-2 win against the Montreal last Saturday.
“Wilman, it’s a little bit strange with his groin,” Backe said. “His ankle is OK, but he can’t really hit the ball. Normally, he should be ready for the next weekend, I would say.”
During the Red Bulls training session on Friday, Dax McCarty played alongside Rafa Márquez in central midfield for the first team.
Joel Lindpere, meanwhile, was relegated to the second team in Friday’s scrimmage, and Backe said the Estonian midfielder could be benched in Columbus in favor of Mehdi Ballouchy.
“I will decide tomorrow,” said Backe. “Mehdi has done well. We know that Joel and Dane [Richards] haven’t been really themselves. They’ve done, work ethic [has been] good, but we need to see more of an end product in the attacking game.
“A player has to live with pressure. I don’t think you can win without pressure. Let’s see how they react.”