The New York Red Bulls are in the midst of a four-games-in-two-weeks stretch that might reasonably be assumed as point in the season for squad rotation. It is five days since they last played - against Chicago Fire. After today's match against New England Revolution, they play Portland Timbers in Oregon on September 20. Five days after that, they will be in action again, at home against Orlando City. Some of the regular starters will surely get a rest for one or two of those games?
Maybe. But all the talk out of training camp this week suggests Jesse Marsch's mind is on continuity and momentum, not rotation. On Monday, the RBNY head coach let it be known he has no players sidelined by the famously awful New England playing surface. From which we deduce no starter will sit out the trip to Gillette Stadium for fear of being hobbled by its shabby turf.
Tuesday brought more discussion of the team's preparations for the two-games-on-turf week ahead (Portland plays on a better artificial surface than New England - almost to the point it is unfair to categorize them as the same type of field - but it is still not a natural grass field). From which we conclude the club wants to make clear it isn't fretting about the next couple of games, just making prudent adjustments for the change in playing conditions.
There are other reasons to rest players. General fatigue, for example. Kemar Lawrence played three games in a week at the start of September (two for Jamaica on 9/4 and 9/8; one for RBNY on 9/11). He has combined a full, high-level international schedule with a starting role for the Red Bulls for most of the season. Maybe he's ready for a break?
Nope. BigAppleSoccer.com reports the left back is "100 percent" in the eyes of his coach.
It is fair and reasonable to assume the Red Bulls will rotate some players to keep legs and minds fresh at some point in the coming weeks. The October schedule is also quite crowded. But the message we think we're getting from the team right now is the focus is on keeping the current run of form going. The last time Jesse Marsch rested players for a game in New England, things did not go well. And there has been chatter about fine-tuning and perfecting the team's defensive shape and tactics.