November 5, 2013
HE HOPES TO BE RIGHT BACK
Barklage wants to use a playoff start to prove a point
By Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HANOVER, N.J. – There is still something left for Brandon Barklage to prove, now in his second year with the Red Bulls. He hopes to start proving it on Wednesday night.
Barklage entered Sunday’s 2-2 result at the Houston Dynamo in the 68th minute, coming in as a right back. But on Wednesday night, there’s a good chance he could see an extended role and possibly factor into the Starting XI discussion. For a player cut by D.C. United following the 2011 season, the playoffs give him a chance to prove himself on a very big stage.
In his previous three years with United, he had 11 appearances with only three starts.
“I still feel I’ve got a little bit more to prove in this league, especially at right back. I think that all starts tomorrow night – I don’t have a whole lot of playoff experience but that won’t stop me,” Barklage told BigAppleSoccer.com on Tuesday.
Late this summer, Barklage suffered an upper leg injury that sidelined him for several games and took him out of the starting lineup. Now with the biggest game of the season here, he is itching to be a part of the action and play a big role.
He’s healthy and fit, he says, and out to prove a point.
“It feels good to be a part of the team again, obviously the injury threw me off a bit,” Barklage said. “We’re on a nine-game [unbeaten] streak right now, we just want to continue that form.”
He also is actively participating in “No-shave November” along with his father, bringing a rally beard into the playoffs that has been growing for several weeks.
The next step for Barklage is literally the next step – hopefully a look at the national team at some point. With questionable depth at right back, it isn’t inconceivable that with some more solid showings in Major League Soccer, he could get a look.
After all, he’s a converted right midfielder and brings some solid attacking skills into the final third, never a bad thing for a right back on the international level.
“I think every professional has that goal, he wants to play at the highest level. That’s what I want to do, I’m still learning, still growing as a player,” Barklage said. “My defending can get better, especially keeping in a line along the back four. But I think that my attacking adds something.”