Dax McCarty out 4-6 Weeks: Where Does This Leave the Red Bulls?

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Dax McCarty will be out 4-6 weeks.  The injury sustained by the New York Red Bulls skipper Sunday against the Chicago Fire is bad, but could have been worse. Midfielder McCarty suffered a small tibial fracture early in the first half in Sunday’s match.

A knock for McCarty begs the question: Where does this leave the New York Red Bulls?  While this could’ve been a potential season ending injury, New York sill not see McCarty for at least a month. This injury will certainly will effect the team moving forward tactically. After this injury however, the the Red Bulls will need to fill two voids left behind by McCarty.

Dax McCarty out 4-6 Weeks: Where Does This Leave the Red Bulls?

Captainship

The first question needing to be answered is: Who will wear the captain’s armband for the next 4-6 weeks? At this point there are only two choices: Sacha Kljestan or Luis Robles.  Kljestan’s season has been absolutely vital to the Red Bulls, who are currently sitting second in the Eastern Conference. However, past Dax McCarty, Robles has been the heart and soul of the Red Bulls. Robles looks like the correct choice given the way he leads the team.

Tactics and Formation

The second question needing to be answered is much more complex. Who replaces McCarty on the pitch? The Red Bulls can take many options with this choice, the most obvious and most likely will be Sean Davis sliding in next to Felipe Martins.

However, the Red Bulls could take another approach to their starting XI.  Jesse Marsch could slide Alex Muyl to the defensive midfield role, then insert Gonzalo Veron out right on the wing. Veron has not seen much playing time with the Red Bulls since being signed as a designated player.  This injury could give Veron the chance to get into the starting lineup and show what he is capable of for a full 90. Up until this point many Red Bull supporters have been less than thrilled with Veron’s performances.

The Red Bulls could take a third and much more different approach to the lineup and combine the two previous options.  Marsch could still keep the attack similar and still get Veron some much needed playing time.  NYRB could switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 diamond.

In this formation, Felipe would be the loan defensive midfielder.  They could then keep the trio of Mike Grella, Kljestan, and Muyl up top.  This would allow Marsch to pair Bradley Wright-Phillips with Veron as striking partners.  Jesse Marsch has quite a difficult choice to make and little time to do it.  The Red Bulls kick of CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday, then travel cross-country to meet the always tough L.A Galaxy the Sunday following.