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November 2, 2012
Backe: if Cahill (calf injury) can't play, McCarty is best bet in central midfield

Tim Cahill is questionable for D.C. United with a calf injury.
Tim Cahill is questionable for D.C. United with a calf injury.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said he will make a decision on Saturday on whether injured midfielder Tim Cahill will play against D.C. United in the Eastern Conference semifinals in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night.

The Australian international and designated player is trying to recover from a calf injury, Backe revealed during a conference call on Friday morning.

Backe said that he had most of his players ready for the MLS playoff encounter at RFK Stadium (NBC Sports Network, 8 p.m. ET).

"Just have to make a late decision, would guess, tomorrow,' he said during the conference call. "Other than that, everyone seems to be ready."

Backe did not elaborate on the severity of the injury and how and when Cahill suffered it.

Cahill's most likely replacement would be Dax McCarty, who started the regular-season finale at the Philadelphia Union on the right side. He would team with Teemu Tainio or Rafa Marquez.

"I would say normally, 99 percent, if Tim doesn't play, it has to be Dax central," Backe said.

McCarthy distinguished himself at the central midfield position this season, although he has been pushed to the right side when Backe decided to use foreign veterans such as Marquez, Tainio and Cahill.

Backe said potential replacements on the right side would include Jan Gunnar Solli, primarily a left-sided midfielder who played at right back last season and at the beginning of this year. Another possibility is left back Roy Miller, who also can play in the midfield.

The Red Bulls coach said that he would use either player on the right side "even if we get two left-footed players in the wide positions. Normally, the first option is Solli in that case.
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