New York Red Bulls midfielder Gonzalo Veron (pictured) has made 19 appearances in 2016 MLS games. (Photo: Mexsport)
HANOVER, New Jersey -- With first place on the line in two competitions, the New York Red Bulls' depth will be tested the next several days.
First, they will try to overcome the loss of wingers Mike Grella and Alex Muyl, when D.C. United visits Red Bull Arena for a Major League Soccer match on Sunday.
Then, New York will host second-place Alianza FC (0W-2D-0L, 2 points) in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match Thursday. A win would put the Red Bulls (1-1-0, 4) on the verge of clinching the Group F title and a quarterfinal berth.
Prior to all of that, tough, head coach Jesse Marsch must figure out who will play against United. The Red Bulls (12-7-9, 43) would move atop the Eastern Conference table with a win over D.C. and a New York City FC (12-8-8, 44) loss or draw at the New England Revolution a day earlier.
Marsch has several options from which to choose as his central midfield will be bolstered by the return of playmaker Sacha Kljestan, a big reason behind the United States winning in last two FIFA World Cup qualifiers and clinching a spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
Gonzalo Veron, Daniel Royer and Omer Damari are also likely candidates to get a nod.
"Thinking about how to balance out the rest of the team, the options are Veron, Royer and Damari,” said Marsch. “Do we go with two strikers up top? Do we go with three? Who do we tilt to one side? Will look at match-ups against D.C. It’s an exciting time I think for two of those three guys to get a big opportunity.
“Whichever one doesn’t [start] will play a big part off the bench.”