New York Red Bulls keeper Ryan Meara and center back Aaron Long are “probable” to play against F.C Cincinnati on Sunday.
Healthwise, there’s a minor concern for the New York Red Bulls ahead of Sunday’s season opener. Two of New York’s players — keeper Ryan Meara and center back Aaron Long — are listed as “probable” to play, per Andrew Vazzano of the team’s website.
Meara is nursing a groin injury while Long possesses a hamstring setback. The latter previously suffered a hamstring injury last May, which caused him to miss five games.
Meara picked up a knock in RBNY’s last preseason outing against Sporting Kansas City (Feb. 22) when he slid on top of the box to dispossess an opponent. The team subbed him out for newly acquired keeper David Jensen. Perhaps, the New York native is still dealing with some pain.
If Meara and Long do play on Sunday, it’s highly possible that they won’t be fully healthy.
Jensen could replace Meara if he misses Sunday’s matchup. The Red Bulls signed Jensen on Jan. 29, so he didn’t spend the entire preseason with them. The last time he played for F.C Utrecht (his previous club) was on Nov. 22.
If Jensen starts in goal, it would be a feeling of déjà vu for Meara. In his rookie year in 2012, he suffered a severe hip injury. This cost him his starting spot to Luis Robles.
As for Long, Amro Tarek is likely to replace him if he doesn’t play against FCC. Last season, the Egyptian proved that he’s more than just a reliable backup center back.
Tarek had to fill in for the starting defenders 20 times when they were either injured or away on international duties. He made the Team of the Week twice while tallying a goal and an assist.
Cincinnati finished in last place in the Eastern Conference last season. They scored the fewest number of goals, so it’s not a high-risk situation for New York to rest Meara and Long. RBNY has a reputation of resting their players out of precaution anyway.
The season opener will commence at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Red Bull Arena.