Coping without a key player is nothing new for the New York Red Bulls, but they'll have to find a way to do so again in order to maintain hopes of a deep playoff run.
Manager Hans Backe confirmed to reporters that Luke Rodgers won't be available for Wednesday night's wildcard playoff game at FC Dallas as he deals with a knee injury. Backe said that Rodgers received an injection in his knee and could be available for a training session on Friday if all goes well.
While Thierry Henry has carried the Red Bulls attack for much of the season, Rodgers' play has been integral to the team's success. New York went 1-3-7 without Rodgers this season, and that victory came in the season-opening match that occurred prior to him becoming eligible to play for the club. He scored nine goals this season, including one in a 1-0 New York victory at Dallas on Sept. 17.
"He's that very busy striker who can almost press the back four himself," Backe said. "His energy, work ethic, also the character — he's quite a tough guy, goes into tackles, scores goals. He lifts his teammates the way he runs and works."
Without him available, Backe will pair either Dane Richards or Juan Agudelo alongside Henry.
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