August 2, 2012
Red Bulls close to full strength for Houston
Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. -- Heading to Houston for what captain Thierry Henry called a “massive” match, the Red Bulls will be close to a full strength squad, or at the very least a squad deeper and stronger than in games past.
Thursday’s training session at Red Bull Arena saw the vast majority of coach Hans Backe’s side on the field and participating. Backe seemed pleased to welcome back some depth to his squad after a string of injuries that decimated his Starting XI.
Right back Jan Gunnar Solli and left back Heath Pearce both trained and look likely to contribute under the lights on Friday night.
“Solli is 100 percent,” Backe said. “Heath did a session yesterday, he did a session today - will be available.”
Two players not available for the travels to take on the Dynamo are midfielder Rafa Marquez, out with a calf injury and goalkeeper Ryan Meara. After a strong start to the season, the only thing to slow down the front runner for rookie of the year has been a hip injury.
Meara hasn’t played since a 2-0 loss to New England on July 8. Backe teased about the timetable of Meara’s return as “No idea. One week to two years.”
“I don’t know with Ryan, still doing treatment, let’s see if he can get in,” Backe said. “Perhaps, it is speculation. Let’s see if he can get in a week or something.”
Marquez did not train on Thursday and is receiving treatment.