If it seems like the New York Red Bulls rely on the same script every week with regard to injuries, it's because they very often do.
Last week, we were told Daniel Royer was "going to be ready for the weekend". But Daniel Royer did not feature in the match-day 18 for the first leg of the current playoff series against Montreal Impact. This week, we are told much the same.
We will see what the 18 looks like on Sunday.
RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch is certainly keeping his options open. Per Kristian Dyer for Big Apple Soccer, Marsch teased a start for Gonzalo Veron in the upcoming must-win playoff match. And he also teased a not-start. In essence, Marsch told BAS that Veron is a soccer player who can play soccer and that skill can be applied to the benefit of RBNY in more than one way.
I think he’s an option to start for this week as well as an option – if we don’t start him – for more minutes off the bench.
So what you're saying, Jesse, is anything is possible. Understood.
It would be an extraordinary break from Marsch's norm to see both Veron and Royer starting on Sunday against L'Impact, since it would presumably be at the expense of both the coach's preferred starting wingers, Mike Grella and Alex Muyl.
Unlike Royer, Veron's fitness is not in doubt (as far as we know, anyway). But both players have proven themselves reliably bright attacking sparks. Having both on the field from kick-off is perhaps more than the usual amount of attacking verve that Marsch seems comfortable with - but he has options.
Further back in the lineup, Marsch merely has problems.
Ronald Zubar did not train. "Hopefully in training tomorrow or the next day." Cited issue with his groin. #RBNY— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) November 2, 2016
Ouch and ouch.
Lawrence took a knock in Sunday's first leg in Montreal, so a little rest is to be expected. But close attention will have to be paid to his condition. The left back has been back to his old self of late, after a somewhat subdued start to the season. The perception he had lost a step earlier this season seemed to gather weight when Lawrence was chided by former Jamaica head coach Winfried Schafer for trying too hard to play through injury (inspiring the headline "Boyz Coach Schafer unhappy with almost everything" from the Jamaica Observer).
Since then, Lawrence has had surgery and returned to show the sort of form that makes him - in this observer's estimation - the second-best left back in CONCACAF.
Given past experience with shrugging off injury too readily, or coming back to training too quickly, perhaps an extra day of rest is no bad thing.
Ronald Zubar, you may recall, was supposed to be back in action for the last game of the regular season - but wasn't - and was subsequently described as "available for the weekend, for sure" by Jesse Marsch prior to the opening game of the playoffs. He missed that one too.
To BAS on Wednesday, Marsch conceded that Zubar's recovery from a groin injury has "taken more time than we thought it would."
You don't say, Jesse.
There are still a few days for the squad to get itself into shape for the second leg. Marsch told BAS he believes "all those guys are on track to be available" for RBNY's upcoming game against L'Impact. No doubt they are and no doubt there are further optimistic reports to come out of training. But, based on past experience this season, we'll wait for the lineups to be announced on game day to determine whether the team's injured players have recovered.