Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Meat Wagon Visits the RBNY Training Ground

You just knew it was too good to be true, didn't you?  After the Red Bulls put longtime nemesis DC United to the sword on Saturday afternoon with a pair of second-half goals, there was just bound to be some nugget of bad news at training this week, wasn't there?  And so it proved when the meat wagon showed up at Montclair State University today - well figuratively at least, though that is a picture of the official Montclair State University ambulance that we managed to dig up.  (Speaking of Montclair State, can we please get out of that place and into a proper training facility before another half dozen or more players get injured?)

The biggest news is that striker Salou Ibrahim, who scored the opening goal in DC, looks to be shelved for an indefinite period of time with an ankle injury after a run-in with Roy Miller.  The big man hasn't exactly been creating chances all over the pitch, but he has knocked in critical goals in successive league games and is a real handful for defenders.  With Salou likely missing for this weekend's trip to San Jose, could we see someone like Conor Chinn crack the starting XI alongside Juan Pablo Angel?  Stay tuned.

Adding to the injury woes, Dane Richards, who looked so lively against DC United, is complaining of a groin injury.  Then again, he's done that before and nothing came of it.  If Richards is missing for San Jose, I'd like to see Jeremy Hall given a chance in midfield, with Chris Albright slotted behind him at right back.  Midfielder Brian Nielsen, who is still fighting fitness after arriving from Denmark, could take part in Saturday's game, but the club is concerned about his elevated pulse (gotta love Brian Lewis' headline).  Even though Nielsen seems unconcerned, you's expect the Red Bulls to err on the side of caution for now with other options on the left side of midfield, including Stammler, Ubiparipovic and Hall.

One player who hasn't yet kicked a ball for the Red Bulls in 2010 and now looks unlikely to is Kevin Goldthwaite.  Goldy, who has had numerous surgeries to repair persistent groin and abdominal problems, was hoping to make a comeback later in the season, but has apparently re-aggravated his injuries in training.  Hans Backe told Michael Lewis of Big Apple Soccer:
I think he has to calm it down and then see the reaction from the groin. The doctors have to check him. He's done one surgery, perhaps two on groin. If it does nothing, get some injections to then I have my experience it will be difficult to be back. probably he has to take perhaps one year's rest and have to see if it's possible to start all over again.
I wonder how much playing on the awful surface at Giants Stadium may have contributed to Goldthwaite's problems.   I hope he can make a comeback and provide the squad with some defensive depth, but it's not sounding positive.

Now, onto some other stuff...

Beau Dure, formerly of USA Today, devotes a blog posting this morning to an assessment of the Red Bulls early season success that offers only grudging praise.  He correctly points out that the Red Bulls are organized and less prone to beat themselves than they were during the Osorio era, but concludes that the Red Bulls will come down to Earth.  "Eventually," he says, "teams will adjust against them, and their new mentality will be tested. They might need one or two more players."  Dure predicts a Red Bulls victory total somewhere on the low end of his scale (I would presume between 10-13 wins).  The schedule ahead for the club certainly looks a bit more daunting, with Columbus and Seattle on the horizon, but I see no reason why 16 or more victories is not achievable this season, especially in a league where formerly strong clubs such as New England, DC, Chicago and Chivas have been weakened by injuries and player departures.

Finally, the Thierry Henry to Red Bull rumors continue to heat up, with a rash of new reports claiming that the former Arsenal hit man is on his way to MLS.  Earlier today, Barcelona president Joan Laporta admitted that the club would be willing to cut Henry loose at the end of the season, even with one year remaining on his deal.  Henry has barely featured for the Catalans lately, and at this point his arrival in New York would seem to be just a matter of time, despite the wacky Henry to DC United chatter
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