November 2, 2012
By Kristian Dyer
Defender returns, but has injured thumb
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Since being subbed out at halftime of the Red Bulls 2-0 home loss to the Fire on Oct. 16, center back Wilman Conde has been away from the team for what head coach Hans Backe said at the time was “personal reasons.”
|Wilman Conde is available to play for the Red Bulls with a cast on his arm.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
On Wednesday BigAppleSoccer.com asked Conde again about his time away from the team and he was relatively mum in his response, saying that “I said it last week and I’ll say it once again, it was personal reasons.”
He was eligible to play last Saturday in Philadelphia but did not see the field but he’s of course hopeful to see some time this weekend in the Red Bulls quarterfinal match-up against D.C. United, even if he acknowledges that it would be difficult to be in the Starting XI. In their last two games, the Red Bulls have had shutouts and could well be tempted to field the same backline again for the sake of continuity. Then of course, there’s also issues of fitness but Conde said “I feel well to play and be 100 percent.”
“I’m working hard to get the opportunity to play again but I can’t tell you where I fit. The last few games we haven’t given up goals so you [maybe] want to stick with the same lineup,” Conde told BigAppleSoccer.com.
He was sporting a cast in training on his left arm, a curious sight for a player who has been limited to just 17 appearances this season, primarily due to hamstring and other such related injuries.
“I hurt my left thumb in my hand,” Conde said. “It happened during Sunday’s training.”
When asked if he was well enough to play and fit enough given the injury and his recent time away from the team, Conde referenced the recent strike by Hurricane Sandy.
“I don’t have gas, I don’t have cell phone, I don’t have electricity but I’m fine,” Conde said with a smirk.
Where he would line up on Saturday at R.F.K. Stadium, should he play, is a bit of a mystery – even to Conde himself. Brought in as a center back, Conde has seen some recent shifts with some success at left back. Perhaps it’s a good thing as his versatility could help him see the field as he seeks to get some playoff minutes.
“If you speak of preference, I’ve always been brought along to be a center back on the left but playing out wide is an option that we can give the coaching staff and it’s something I’m able to do,” Conde said.