Gonzalo Veron will watch the Red Bulls’ home opener from the sidelines. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Photos)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
Don’t expect to have Gonzalo Veron prancing around Red Bull Arena Saturday.
Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said the Argentine midfielder-forward will “probably be out” for the team’s home opener against D.C. United.
Veron injured his hamstring in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“He’s still nursing it a little bit,” Marsch told reporters after practice at the Red Bulls training facility in Hanover, N.J. earlier this week. “He’s been jogging. Hopefully he’ll start training soon, maybe by Friday or Saturday. We’ll be cautious and make sure that we’re not going to reinjure it.”
In his first two winters with the Red Bulls, Veron just hasn’t been able to get off to a decent start. Last year a hamstring pull kept him sidelined for weeks.
“Gonzalo is as frustrated as anybody,” Marsch Thursday said. “He is the one who felt he gets injured too much. It’s frustrating for him because as soon as started to establish himself he feels it’s another setback. But it’s important for him to maintain the proper approach to know that we’re going to ge him back on again and that he’s ready to help. There’s no frustration of mine. It’s getting him ready.”
Earlier this week, the Red Bulls announced that another plagued who was plagued by injuries last year, center back Gideon Baah, would be lost for the season because his broken leg had not fully healed.
Another tough blow for Baah and the team.
“It’s more important of us to be supportive of Gideon and of Gonzalo in moments like these,” team captain Sacha Kljestan said. “No player wants to be injured, no player likes to be in the physio’s room or working in the gym after hours than they really need to. It always sucks when you get injury, especially for Gideon. We were devastated for him because he’s got to miss a whole year when he could be back in six months or something like that.
“The best thing we can do in the locker room is to put our arm around them.”
With Veron temporarily out of action and Baah sidelined until 2018, this is an opportunity for a player, perhaps a youngster trying to break through to step up his name.
“The other guys, I hope they smell blood and they’re excited about a chance to win a spot,” said Kljestan, who used midfielder-forward Derrick Etienne, Jr. as an example when opportunity knocks.
“Derrick Etienne, over this past preseason and the game against Atlanta has come in and made a difference,” he added. “He’s matured a lot. He’s become an important guy for us. I think he’s going to play a lot of minutes this season. He’s one guy who has stepped up. Other guys have to continue to do so.”
Someone might have a chance when the Red Bulls host the Colorado Rapids in their home opener at Red Bull Arena Saturday at 4 p.m.