Felipe and his Red Bulls teammates will use the FC Tucson game to prepare for Vancouver in the CCL Feb. 22. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
For the first time this preseason, head coach Jesse Marsch will have his full complement of players from which to choose in a preseason game.
With goalkeeper Luis Robles, midfielder Sacha Kljestan and striker Bradley Wright-Phillips available to play, the Red Bulls will meet FC Tucson in a game in Tucson, Ariz. Saturday night.
Robles, who joined the team earlier in the week after three weeks with the U.S. national team, said the game will be “a great opportunity to be together.”
“Sacha hasn’t been on the field yet, Brad hasn’t been on the field yet. I haven’t been on the field yet. to be on there with some of the defenders like Aaron Long and [Hassan Ddam]. Some of the guys in the midfield, it’s going to give them an opportunity to see just the quality that Brad and Sacha have. The expectations are quite high. When they see these guys play, not only will they see not only a lot of quality but the sort of expectation required for us to win.”
The Red Bulls are three levels above FC Tucson, although they want to use the game to prepare for preseason Hudson River Derby and the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Whitecaps Feb. 22. The second leg is in Vancouver March 2.
“For us it is to get sharper and sharper,” midfielder Felipe said. “We’ll do teamwork all around the field. Just keep going forward and getting better for the 22nd.”