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NEW YORK RED BULLS

May 7, 2012
BULKING UP
Backe sees Rafa in the midfield; Miller returns to left back


Rafa Marquez is expected to return to a midfield role for the Red Bulls on Wednesday.
Rafa Marquez is expected to return to a midfield role for the Red Bulls on Wednesday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. - After an improbable 1-0 win at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night over the MLS Cup champion Galaxy, the Red Bulls will be boosted by the return of Rafa Marquez from suspension and Roy Miller from injury. But judging from the Red Bulls last two games – both wins – does the team really need either player to be successful?

Marquez returns from a three-game suspension mandated by the league for his part in breaking the collarbone of San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas in a 2-2 home draw on April 14. Since being handed the suspension, Marquez has continued to train with the first team but has been unable to play for the Red Bulls. Now with his return to the field and what appears to be an inevitable slotting into the Starting XI, coach Hans Backe must figure out how to fit Marquez back into the lineup after recent shutout wins over the New England Revolution and at Los Angeles.

When asked by BigAppleSoccer.com, Backe said he didn’t see Marquez playing central defense for his team.

“I would probably normally see him in the midfield,” Backe said.

“I think the back four has defending wise done very well; of course we’ve been under pressure a lot, haven’t been able to have possession. Of course we know that in both these games with so many new bodies coming onto the pitch; but they’ve done a phenomenal job defending wise I must say.”

Miller’s return bolsters a backline that has achieved its first two shutouts of the season over the past two weeks; Miller wasn’t a part of either goose egg on the scoreboard as he left the field on April 14 following a knee injury in the 59th minute. Having missed the last three games, including New York’s current two-game winning streak, Miller hopes to gel with the defensive effort from his normal left back position.

Although he has played centrally for the Costa Rican national team, Miller will resume the left back position that has been capably handled by Connor Lade over the past three games. Backe confirmed that Miller is available to play against the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena this Wednesday.

The good news continues for New York. After playing just eight minutes last week in his first MLS action since March 11, forward Juan Agudelo looks to cement his recovery from a knee injury suffered originally six months ago while training in Germany.

“Agudelo as I said before the Galaxy game should be available for 20-30 minutes and it should be the same,” Backe said. “We’ll give him some minutes.”

Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer
 
 
 
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