I took a trip out to Red Bulls training this afternoon and talked to head coach Hans Backe and defenders Mike Petke and Tim Ream about the team's upcoming derby against the Philadelphia Union. Without further adieu, here's the video, which is also up on the Once A Metro YouTube channel:
Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Preview - April 22, 2010 (via OnceAMetro)
Hans Backe also spoke at length about other current issues surrounding the team. He made no bones about the fact that he is going to give Salou Ibrahim every shot at forward alongside Juan Pablo Angel. When Backe was asked about Kandji's injury, he didn't even mention anything about Salou or the forward position, rather he said, "Nielsen is coming in, who can play wide left. We can also play Sinisa wide left, so we still have options." When asked about the forward position again, Backe said, "Still, we have to give time to Salou and of course Angel up front to play games."
On newly signed Danish winger Brian Nielsen, who has yet to arrive in the United States, Backe still insisted that he would like to play Nielsen this weekend.
"It's no problem to play him, it's more with time difference, traveling," Backe said. "So I will have a talk with him tomorrow morning when he trains to see if he feels fit enough, or if we wait until Tuesday. But I hope we can use him on Saturday."
Backe also mentioned that he's been thinking of, when Nielsen is fully available, trying to implement a diamond formation in the midfield, with Nielsen playing behind two strikers, and Lindpere, Robinson, and Ubiparipovic also in midfield. Dane Richards would be the odd man out in this formation, but Backe also noted that Richards could be a possibility at striker due to his pace.
In regards to Chris Albright, who has yet to play this season due to injury, Backe said that Albright would be available to play in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup match. However, because Albright is on Injured Reserve, the first league match he could play would be against the Seattle Sounders on May 15. Still, Backe had some very flattering words about Albright.
"Top class. Top man, a leader, understands the game," Backe said. "Perfect communication on the pitch to organize the team. I really like what I've seen."
Check back soon as we'll have a full preview of Saturday's first-ever New York/Philadelphia derby. Look out for my conversation with Kyle Shank of Brotherly Game, SBNation's Philadelphia Union blog, looking forward to the match.