Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
HARRISON, N.J. — Dax McCarty is on the way back, but he is not there yet.
McCarty took part in the New York Red Bulls’ training session on Tuesday morning inside of Red Bull Arena, serving as a two-way player in a possession-based drill. It was the first time since McCarty suffered a tear in his right quad that he kicked the ball around with his teammates, but the timetable for his return is still not yet known.
“There’s certainly caution because it’s so early in the season, because muscles are always frustrating and they are always very tricky, and also because we have a really long season ahead,” said McCarty, who will miss Wednesday’s home game vs. the Montreal Impact. “Right now, we’re not in a position where we’re struggling and we’re (not) a team that’s in the bottom of the pack. We’re doing well and as I’ve said before, we have so much depth on this team, so it’s great to see.
“If I had to get injured, this was the time of the season to do it. Obviously, I hate missing games and it’s not easy for me to watch, but I’m the biggest cheerleader when I do have to watch.”
While McCarty may be keeping a positive outlook on his recovery, he did express some frustration with the MLS schedule makers. Mainly, his beef with the current schedule is the discrepancy of games played by teams this far into the season.
“It’s frustrating to me how we’ve played more games than anyone in the entire league and yet we still have another midweek game this week,” said McCarty. “We’ve played four more games than Seattle (Sounders), which is probably for CONCACAF (Champions League), which is fine. But we’ve played three games more, two games more than most teams.
“It’s not just frustrating for injured guys trying to get back and play, it’s also a bigger risk of injury for us. We have time off in June, but again every team has pretty much time off in June.”
McCarty added that he would like to be in uniform for the Red Bulls’ Saturday clash with the New England Revolution, but New York head coach Mike Petke did not sound as convincing when talking about his defensive midfielder’s availability for the game at Gillette Stadium.
“There’s always a chance,” said Petke. “It’s more of the fact now that he hasn’t really done much. He’s just striking the ball now, so it’s about seeing where he is Thursday and going into Friday if he will be a part of the roster for New England.”
Here are more notes from Red Bulls’ practice:
JUNINHO TOUCHES ON PERFORMANCE IN COLUMBUS
There is no denying that Juninho had one of his worst outings in a Red Bulls jersey in the club’s 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew this past Saturday, but the Brazilian midfielder said Tuesday that fatigue played a big part in his subpar performance.
“I felt really good in the first 45 minutes but clearly in the second half I didn’t feel the same,” Juninho said through a translator. “It was a tough game but the team worked really hard and was able to pull out the result. I feel good to play 90 minutes the next game.”
Prior to the match at Crew Stadium, Juninho had expressed concern over the rhythm he had lost while serving a two-game suspension but he was named to the starting lineup nonetheless.
CAHILL POINTS TO DEFENSIVE DISCIPLINE FOR RECENT SUCCESS
The Red Bulls have begun to consistently pick up wins in recent weeks, and Tim Cahill believes that is simply because of their newfound defensive discipline.
Cahill pointed to New York’s stinginess on defense as one of the main reasons why the club has won four of their last five games, a stretch that has seen the Red Bulls concede only three times en route to helping them jump up into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s just being consistent now, understanding that we need to defend first and not concede,” said Cahill. “We’ve got enough players who can score goals from all over the park and overall the discipline has been really good. Going on the road and making sure that we’re compact is always the key in any team you play in.
“We’ve got a great understanding between the staff and the players and the mentality of what we want to take on the football pitch. I’m really happy with the discipline that we’ve shown in the last three or four games.”
When do you think McCarty will be able to return for the Red Bulls? Expecting Juninho to have a better game vs. the Impact on Wednesday? Agree with Cahill’s assessment?
Share your thoughts below.