Toronto, ON – A pair of former MLS teammates will square off as coaches at BMO Field on Saturday when Red Bull New York faces Toronto FC.
New York's Mike Petke and Toronto's Ryan Nelsen played together at D.C. United for two seasons until they both departed the club in 2005.
Both men have transitioned to the sidelines where they have their respective sides enjoying impressive runs of form.
The Red Bulls come into the contest on the back of a resounding 4-1 victory over the New England Revolution last weekend, a result that certainly was welcomed by the players.
"I think we've been kind of waiting all year for that offensive explosion and to do it against a team that has been the best in the league defensively ... it feels pretty good," said Dax McCarty.
McCarty has been one of New York's most consistent players throughout the start of the season, but the club will be without his services for the next couple of weeks as he recovers from a quad injury.
"Dax will be out, the word right now, two weeks," said Petke after Thursday's session. "He has a slight tear in his quad. It's a small little tear, so [the medical staff] are only saying two to two-and-a-half weeks."
The Red Bulls have the attacking options necessary to cope with McCarty's absence, but Thierry Henry stressed how big of blow the midfielder's injury really is.
"It's not an easy one to deal with but it's the story of our season sometimes," Thierry Henry told MLSsoccer.com. "You miss some players and you have to make sure that you can adapt and adjust. But obviously missing Dax is difficult because he is a big piece of our puzzle."
With Juninho also set to miss the clash at BMO Field through suspension, it may prove to be Toronto's best chance at taking points off of the Red Bulls.
Toronto has drawn four straight matches in league play, but the Canadian club is coming off of a midweek victory over the Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship.
That result has given Nelsen confidence in playing any combination of players.
"I know now that I have 22 players who can put on a Toronto shirt and play at any level," Nelsen said after the match. "We played a lot of young players today and they did a lot of solid hard work in the first half to set up their solid performance in the second half."