Augusts 24, 2012
KANSAS CITY DEBUT?
Sam gets visa, ready to play for the Red Bulls; Barklage could suit up as well
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Right fullback Brandon Barklage very well could suit up for the Red Bulls vs. Kansas City on Sunday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – A transatlantic flight might not be enough to keep Red Bulls winger Lloyd Sam off the field on Sunday night. The club’s latest signee looks set to make his debut against Sporting Kansas City.
Signed by the Red Bulls last week, Sam obtained his visa on Friday according to coach Hans Backe, clearing him to suit up for the Red Bulls. The former Charlton and Leeds United attacker comes to New York via a recommendation from Luke Rodgers, who starred at Red Bull Arena last year and became an instant fan favorite.
Despite the travel to England, Backe is hoping that Sam will figure into his plans for Sunday at Livestrong Park (ESPN2, 9 p.m.).
“He picked up his visa today so that means [with] a five-hour time difference, if we’re lucky could perhaps arrive tonight,” Backe said. “If not, [he] could go directly to Kansas.”
After playing in the Red Bulls' reserve match against Montreal on Tuesday, Brandon Barklage could be closing in on MLS minutes again. A revelation at right back when he was inserted into the Starting XI in late April, the former winger has been solid in his defending and outstanding pushing forward into the attack.
A hamstring injury on July 21 derailed what has been a remarkable season for the player.
Backe wouldn’t rule out selection for this weekend’s match.
“Probably quite OK. He played 90 minutes the Tuesday game against Montreal. Of course it’s huge difference to play competitive in the MLS,” Backe said. “But I’d say he’s a guy who is quite easy to get fit after an injury. He’ll be available for us.”
As for goalkeeper Ryan Meara, Backe ruled out for the former Fordham goalkeeper for the rest of the year following this week’s hip surgery. Backe said he was quite pleased with the rookie’s performance in goal and was disappointed to see him go under the knife.
The club delayed surgery and pursued other options, he said, in an effort to get Meara on the field again this season.
“Before you go for a surgery, you try to get treatment to try and avoid a surgery that will keep him out for a season,” Backe said.
“It didn’t work with the treatments and it was an easy decision to go for the surgery.”
Backe added that while it is season ending surgery, he expects Meara will be ready for the start of pre-season training.