While many of their New York Red Bulls teammates enjoyed having last week off and may have snuck in a little light training, three players traveled to join their national teams for the latest batch of 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. With very little turnaround time, Tim Cahill, Joel Lindpere, and Roy Miller could all play major roles in the crucial match at home against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night. Here's a quick look at how they did while they were away.
Tim Cahill, Australia:
Still scoreless midway through the second half on Tuesday against Iraq, Australia conceded a goal in the 72'. On the brink of yet another disappointing result, it was none other than Tim Cahill who pulled the Socceroos level with, no surprise, a header off of a set piece less than ten minutes later. Australia went on to win 2-1 and Cahill was subbed off late in the match. Australia is currently tied for second place in their group with four matches remaining, and the top two teams from their group will automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Joel Lindpere, Estonia
In their first match of the International break on Friday, Lindpere went the full ninety minutes and was instrumental in Estonia's first half scoreless dominance over Hungary. Hungary, however, found the back of the net immediately following halftime and held on for a 1-0 win. In Estonia's second match, Lindpere started and was subbed off in the sixty-ninth minute as his teammates fought to preserve a 1-0 lead over group minnow Andorra.
Moving forward, Estonia is nine points behind the Netherlands, who lead their group, and six points out of second place. Their chance to advance took a major hit with the loss to Hungary, and while Estonia is still mathematically alive they have a tough road ahead with two upcoming matches against the Netherlands.
Roy Miller, Costa Rica:
Costa Rica came up with an incredibly significant 1-0 win away against El Salvador, who had been a point ahead of the Ticos, and then a 7-0 win over Guyana to advance to the CONCACAF Hexagonal. Roy Miller started both matches, and the Costa Rica coach attributed their first win to their solid defending. In their second match at home With news breaking Tuesday that Wilman Conde will miss the remainder of the regular season for personal reasons, Miller will return to New York looking to reclaim his starting role at left back after an injury and poor play cost him his spot.