The New York Red Bulls have championship aspirations this season, but that road is littered with challenges. It generally is.
Today 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.
Thierry Henry, who has six goals and three assists in his last six games, will be available for the Red Bulls, however, which is fantastic news. Henry is going to have to run the show up front, with Richards, De Rosario and Agudelo out. Henry will have to make due without Richards speed on the wing to create chances, and De Rosario has proven a more than capable set-up man.
But Henry is used to doing it himself, and he will have to against Columbus today.
The Red Bulls will also be without their starting goaltender and two of their premiere defensive players in Ream and Marquez.
It will be a tough match, no one is debating that. But championship contending teams find a way to get points in these circumstances, we'll see if the Red Bulls can do that today.