Just because Daniel Royer suffered an untimely right hamstring injury two weeks ago doesn’t mean that he won’t have a role to play for the New York Red Bulls in the postseason.
The 26-year-old Austrian international had seen his role grow in recent weeks and was starting to round into form, scoring his first Red Bulls goal in the 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Sept. 24.
But the hamstring injury he suffered days before the team’s last match against the Philadelphia Union put him on the sidelines at a time when he was just starting to show why the team signed him during the summer transfer window. There was fear that Royer might not be ready for the playoffs.
The injury came at a terrible time for the winger, costing him games and valuable time on the practice field. But head coach Jesse Marsch doesn’t view the recent injury as derailing the potential impact of Royer come the postseason. In fact, the winger could still be primed to make a significant impact when the stakes will be at their highest.
“I think he’s actually integrated himself and acclimated to an incredibly efficient level,” Marsch said on Friday following training. “That means I think he can be counted on in the biggest of games and he’s already played in some big games.”
The good news is that Royer came into the Red Bulls’ setup pretty far along in terms of fitness when he signed. He’s also a perfect fit for Marsch’s high-energy pressing game, something that will come in handy in the weeks ahead.
Royer was jogging with a member of the team’s training staff on Friday, a sign that his hamstring injury is healing. While he won’t be on the bench for Sunday’s match against the Columbus Crew (2:30 PM, MSG), he could be ready to see some minutes next weekend in the regular season finale against the Union.
If all goes according to plan, Royer should be able to get time on the pitch and even put himself in a position to earn a start in the playoffs.
“Certainly the timetable is tilted towards being more aggressive because there’s no time left,” Marsch said.
Red Bulls Notes
- Defender Ronald Zubar trained in full this week and Marsch said he would like to get the center back some minutes Sunday.
- Following the match against the Columbus Crew, the New York Red Bulls II will host Louisville FC in the Eastern Conference Finals of the USL. The Red Bulls II recently won the USL regular season title under second-year head coach John Wolyniec.