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June 25, 2014
Red Bulls hope to avoid sluggish start

By Kristian Dyer
Big Apple Soccer Contributing Editor

HANOVER, N.J. – After a break from the league season, the Red Bulls are back and rested as they gear up for Friday night when they host Toronto FC. Now they must guard not against fatigue as well as wear and tear, but against a sluggish start to the match.

Repeatedly over the last few years, the Red Bulls have struggled off of long breaks, something not uncommon in MLS let alone worldwide soccer. A break such as the one over the past two weeks takes players out of their regular rhythm and away from the training field. It can hurt, in particular early in a match.

That may not come into play on Friday night, however. The advantage for New York is that the break was league-wide, meaning that their opponent on Friday is also coming off a time away from the field. So Toronto won't be any sharper than the Red Bulls, at least theoretically.

Head coach Mike Petke said on Wednesday that he is pleased with how his team has looked in training.

“We were excited to have that break mentally and physically to rest,” Petke told

“I think we needed it.”

As for team captain and designated player Thierry Henry, he certainly hasn't looked sluggish in training. Henry was away for an extended break during the World Cup to be a part of the BBC's coverage of the tournament. There was concern that Henry would come back out of the flow after his time away, something that doesn't appear to be the case.

In Brazil, he had a team trainer and worked out regularly to keep his fitness up.

“He's not goofing off and he didn't miss any fitness because he was working the whole time,” Petke said. “I'm very happy with Thierry's fitness.”

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