August 2, 2012
Backe feels 'unlucky' Marquez can still make an impact later in season
By Kristian R.Dyer
|Hans Backe on Rafa Marquez (above): “He’s been unlucky with that; I don’t really know why it’s like that. It’s quite a soft one, a low grade one. If you gamble with it, and it breaks up then you’re out for a long time.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls have played 22 games this season with midfielder Rafa Marquez, one of the team’s three designated players, having suited up for just eight of those matches. The latest addition to his personal “Did Not Play” list was Tuesday night’s friendly at Red Bull Arena with English Premier League side Tottenham.
Marquez was scratched from the match late in warm-ups after his final series of sprints. His last appearance with the Red Bulls was July 21 when he played just 21 minutes of the match against Philadelphia. He left the field midway through the first half with a calf injury and headed straight to the locker room.
Coach Hans Backe ruled him out for Friday’s trip to Houston but he still thinks the team’s second highest paid player can have an impact for the Red Bulls. Even if that viewpoint flies against the conventional wisdom in the stands – and perhaps in his own locker room as well.
Even as he has as many league suspensions this year – two – as assists, Backe wants Marquez back on the field.
“He’s been unlucky with that; I don’t really know why it’s like that. It’s quite a soft one, a low grade one. If you gamble with it, and it breaks up then you’re out for a long time,” Backe said.
“That’s the way it is, you can’t do anything when you pick up injuries. He’s been unlucky with injuries I must say. Let’s see when he comes back.”
It has been a tumultuous tenure for Marquez since joining the Red Bulls in the summer of 2010. He never really settled into the midfield and he’s been suspect along the backline where his lack of speed and mobility has consistently been exposed. He has had flashes of strong play, such as last month’s display against D.C. United where he was the boss of the backline.
But his limited appearances and penchant for poor decisions on off the field have made him a bit of an outlier this season for New York. His team captain, who was a teammate of his at Barcelona, doesn’t see any reason to cut and run with Marquez.
“I’ve said it so many times, I will stand by Rafa. I know what he can do when he’s fit,” team captain Thierry Henry said. “You saw it against D.C. Hopefully he can come back from his injuries and help us.”