Looks like the New York Red Bulls are going to be without Roy Miller and Tim Cahill come next month.
Both players earned call-ups to their respective national teams, Miller to Costa Rica's provisional Copa Centroamericana roster and Cahill to Australia ahead of friendlies against Belgium and Saudi Arabia.
If Miller makes the full roster, he'll play for Los Ticos Sept. 3 against Nicaragua at RFK Stadium (yes, the Copa Centroamericana is being held in the United States), Sept. 7 against Panama at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and a playoff game Sept. 13 in Los Angeles, should Costa Rica not finish bottom of their group.
That schedule means Miller would miss the Red Bulls' Sept. 6 match-up against Sporting Kansas City, as well as games against D.C. United Sept. 10 and Philadelphia Union Sept. 13. He also might miss out on the August 31 game against D.C., depending on when Costa Rica camp starts.
Meanwhile, Australia plays Sept. 4 and Sept. 8, first in Belgium against Belgium, then in London against Saudi Arabia. That would only take Cahill out of one game, the Sept. 6's SKC game.
It almost goes without saying that these are important games. For those that need reminding, the Red Bulls sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with 28 points. That's playoff position, but just barely, with the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union on 27 points and the Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire on 25, which gives the Red Bulls little to no room for error and their CONCACAF Champions League campaign yet to begin.
Thankfully, the Red Bulls are even on games played with the Revolution, Dynamo and Fire and have a game in hand on the Union, as well as the Columbus Crew, who sit fourth with 30 points.
Finding replacements to help the Red Bulls get those points, Ambroise Oyongo has filled in admirably both as a left winger and a left back, and he would be the natural replacement for Miller on the back line, with Eric Alexander likely filling in on the left wing.
Cahill's spot could be occupied by a more defensive-minded player, like Ibrahim Sekagya or a recalled Ian Christianson, but the obvious replacement is Peguy Luyindula, who gets Thierry Henry closer to goal and provides possession and creativity in the middle of the field, something Cahill, for all his toughness and intangibles, just doesn't bring.