Backe Hints at Lineup Changes When Red Bulls Face 'Caps

The New York Red Bulls readily admit that their performance in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Fire was a disappointment, and that’s why changes are in store for Wednesday’s encounter with the Vancouver Whitecaps (11 pm ET; MSG+, TSN in Canada; MLS Live in the US, 1190 AM - Spanish Radio).

From who starts in defense to how they lineup at forward, the Red Bulls will look different when they do battle with the Whitecaps at BC Place after the 3-1 defeat to Chicago.

RBNY head coach Hans Backe has insisted there will be lineup tweaks, but his main priority is on improving a defense that looked shaky and soft against the Fire.

“The starting point has to be to defend better,” Backe told reporters in a conference call. “We can’t start conceding goals like this. It depends a little bit. We can do some small changes in the playing style to hopefully defend better against Vancouver.”

Center back Wilman Conde seems set to spend Wednesday’s game on the bench, as the Red Bulls don’t want to give the defender too much too soon in his continued recovery from several injuries. Heath Pearce should start in his place, and that probably won’t be the only difference.

Backe (who will not attend the game against the Whitecaps as he tends to personal matters) also said some fine-tuning could be done on the offensive end, where the Red Bulls will be without Mehdi Ballouchy due to green card issues.

Missing a player with experience playing as a withdrawn striker, the Red Bulls coaching staff has been left with a decision to make in terms of how to lineup in the attack.

“It will change, of course, perhaps the playing style with Mehdi out,” said Backe. “We could play Jhonny [Arteaga] up top if we want, we can play Kenny Cooper by himself up front.

“There is a definitely a possibility with Mehdi out we don’t have any natural second strikers. Joel [Lindpere] could be an option to play as a second striker in getting in the middle of the park, central as he likes to play.”

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