Having already clinched the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Red Bulls head into their final MLS regular season game with not much more to play for than points against rival, D.C. United.
While head coach Jesse Marsch has expressed his plan to rest players against D.C. United, New York’s regular starters such as Felipe, who just played his 200th game in MLS competitions last weekend, expressed their willingness to play.
“I want to play,” Felipe said. “I want to play every game and I feel good and whatever he asks me to do, I will do, but if he asks me if I want to play, 100 percent.”
Aaron Long, who’s played in 31 out of 33 MLS games this season, also said he’d like to play, but noted the importance a match like this could serve for the young guys on the team.
“A lot of young guys are probably going to get out there and show that they deserve to be on this team and show why they’re on the first team,” Long said. “Some guys might get rest and some guys might get warmed up for the playoffs, but no matter what we’re going to put our product on the field.”
While the team awaits Marsch’s final decision on Sunday’s lineup, everyone understands the importance of keeping the momentum going and preparing for the opening round of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs next week.
“I’m not sure exactly who’s going to play yet, but I think Jesse has a pretty good strategy on who needs to rest, who needs to play,” Long said. “What guys he wants sharp and what guys that played a lot of minutes and need to take maybe a day off.
“It’s a quick turnaround, so I don’t think the rest is going to be too long anyways. We play Wednesday or Thursday no matter what.”