The last two weeks have been something of a whirlwind for the New York Red Bulls. Along with three matchdays in two weeks, they lost their best superstar in Thierry Henry for a minimum of four weeks with a strained hamstring.
After scoring a wonderful half volley in the 7′ minute, Henry tried to make a run a few minutes later, falling on his back and showing excruciating pain for his right leg. Getting up to go to the locker room, it looked bad as Henry could barely put weight on the injury. Four weeks would be a best-of-situation scenario for recovery.
After the 1-0 shutout against New England Revolution with a backline that had a combined 11 MLS starts, rookie Ryan Meara got called up to the Ireland U-21 team as he holds citizenship through his grandparents. Thinking the USA probably has more than a few keepers ahead of him on the depth charts, it seemed apparent Meara would leave during the international break for two weeks to get some international experience.
That dream was squandered by head coach Hans Backe, who, when asked about the situation, all he had to say was “It’s stupid.” Keep in mind, a stint with the U-21 team does not lock him in as an Ireland international. A player must play in a FIFA sanctioned senior game to be internationally locked to a nation. If Meara keeps impressing, it might not be farfetched for the United States to bring him in for a look at an upcoming training camp.
Injuries were to blame with the inexperience of the backline against the Revolution. Wilman Conde, Stephen Keel and Jan Gunnar Solli were all out with varying ailments. Saturday night against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Keel and Solli look to insert themselves back into the starting 11. The Red Bulls get another boost from returning players as Juan Agudelo the stunning youth international looks poised for his injury comeback and will most likely replace the spot Thierry Henry leaves vacant.
Watch tonight, Saturday, May 5th at 8pm on ESPN as the New York Red Bulls take on the Los Angeles Galaxy.