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Red Bulls Preseason 2012: Rafa Marquez Ready To Move Forward, Have A Good Season

New York Red Bulls midfielder/defender Rafael Marquez ended the 2011 season on a sour note. At the end of the first leg of the conference semifinals with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Marquez picked up the match ball and tossed it at Landon Donovan. His action started a scuffle which led to both him and Juninho from the Galaxy being red-carded. Marquez was also suspended for three matches, two of which will be served at the beginning of the 2012 season. He also criticized Tim Ream, his partner on the backline. Marquez' performances were uneven at best and the Red Bulls seemed to play better without him in the lineup.

Marquez, the Mexican captain, doesn't want to look backwards. He said that there was some "misinterpretation" of what was said last season and left it at that. He now prefers to let his game do the talking.

"I'm going to leave my work speak for myself. I shouldn't be too worried about how the fans will welcome me in the first game. It's up to me to show them how they should be welcoming me through my work and through my performances on the field." (via

Marquez' coach, Hans Backe, says his player is ready to have a solid campaign this year.

We had good chats with him about the future. I know he's very, very keen to have a good season in 2012. (via Big Apple Soccer)

And where will Marquez be starting the season? While he might see time on the backline, Backe says

We will definitely play him in the beginning as a midfielder

The Red Bulls' season starts on March 11 against FC Dallas.

-- For more on the Red Bulls preseason, stay tuned to our storystream. For more coverage of the Red Bulls, visit SB Nation's Once A Metro.