Both the New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders could clinch a playoff place on Sunday at CenturyLink.
However if New York do clinch a berth in the postseason, they will have to do it without influential striker Thierry Henry.
New York coach Mike Petke revealed in a conference call that Henry would likely be rested, as the risk in aggravating one of Henry’s long-term injuries on Seattle’s turf field is too big a gamble to take.
“It’s not something that he just doesn’t like turf,” Petke said. “He has a chronic issue with his Achilles, and if I’m being told by the doctors that it could be damaged, then it’s a situation that are you going to sacrifice or take that risk for one game, no matter what the significance is, when there’s still three more left to play in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs?”
But the big dilemma for Petke and New York is that the franchises first-ever Supporters’ Shield trophy is within sight. Is risking Henry’s health, long-term and for the 2013 playoffs, really a decision that has to be made? Of course not.
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The Red Bulls have to protect their main man, this isn’t something new. But it does make you wonder just how much difference playing on turf is to grass, especially the expensive new FIFA certified 4-G and 5-G pitches. Playing on both many teams back in the day, I really fail to see which injuries you can have on a turf field that you can’t have on grass. But I;m no expert… luckily, Petke knows a few.
“I haven’t had a direct conversation with him about it yet, but going by history it would appear that he wouldn’t be available,” Petke said. “I know it’s very easy for supporters, even media, to say, ‘It’s a huge game.’ But you have to go with the doctors and talk with the doctors.”
They are the experts, and if they say Titi isn’t ready, then obviously he shouldn’t play. Petke needs to stay firm and stick by his decision to not risk Henry, no matter if some RBNY fans get upset.