The New York Red Bulls have drawn their past three games. And while that might not be the worst stat line in the world it's certainly not what you expect to see from a team with championship aspirations. Especially when you consider that New York had to come from behind just to save every one of those points.
This Saturday, the Red Bulls will go up against a tough Columbus Crew team. The worst part? They will do it without six of their top players. From the Red Bulls weekly update:
The Red Bulls will be without six players due to international duty. Defenders Tim Ream (United States) and Rafa Marquez (Mexico), midfielders Dane Richards (Jamaica) and Dwayne De Rosario (Canada) and forward Juan Agudelo (United States) have all joined their respective national teams for participation in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul was called up by the Senegal National Team for a June 4 match against Cameroon, and will be unavailable for selection on Saturday as well.
We've talked about this before, but a championship season is all about overcoming adversity, and losing players to injuries or national duties is just some of the adversities a team faces through the season.
The bad news? The Red Bulls are certainly talented enough to survive without those six, although losing Coundoul is a big blow on the back end. Especially when you add that to losing Ream on the back line as well. It might turn Saturday's matchup into a defensive battle, with not much risk from the strikers up front.
The good news? Thierry Henry will still be available, and the French striker has scored six goals and added three assists in his last six games. We've said this before, and we will say it again, this team will most likely go where Henry takes them.
Although one would have to expect that with all the losses to national duty, the Red Bulls would be happy just treading water on Saturday. Another tie? Maybe so.