Jesse Marsch: “I’d much rather have both teams be able to have their full complement of players.”(Keith Furman/FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – So, what’s wrong with this picture?
On Friday night, the United States registered a rousing 6-0 win over Honduras in a World Cup qualifying game.
On Saturday, the Red Bulls wound up being one of six Major League Soccer teams that played games.
Translated: the Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake, who recorded a scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena, played on an FIFA international playing date.
In other words, both teams were down players, key players, for a league match.
Needless to say, some of the Red Bulls did not like it.
“I don’t like it. I don’t understand it,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. “These are things for you to ask the league. There’s often things that I don’t quite get. But in the end, it’s okay because it gives us a rhythm right now of playing games. But, yeah, I’d much rather have both teams be able to have their full complement of players.”
RSL was missing goalkeeper Nick Rimando (U.S.) and Albert Rusnak (Slovakia), who were on World Cup qualifying duty.
The Red Bulls performed without their playmaker, Sacha Kljestan, who, too, was with the U.S. squad, and forward Derrick Etienne with Haiti for a CONCACAF Gold Cup playoff, and defender Michael Murillo with Panama for WCQ.
It was not immediately known why the league scheduled games Saturday. The New England Revolution, Minnesota United, Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers also played.
“If we won, if we got three points, then it would not have been bad,” striker Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “Now we haven’t, it’ a stupid rule, stupid.”
Well, not everyone thought so.
“It’s tough, but it’s not like my opinion is going to change anything,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “The way I see it, it’s business as usual. We’re missing Sacha and the other team a couple of other players. They were missing a bunch of guys. It’s the way the schedule is made up. I don’t have an opinion one way or another.”