Luke Rodgers has been ruled out of Wednesday's MLS Cup wild-card playoff game against FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. Dane Richards is expected to move from the midfield to forward to accomodate the absence.
Richards' move to forward also opens up a midfield spot and Backe indicated that second-year man Juan Agudelo could be deployed there. Agudelo has mostly played forward during his brief MLS career, but Backe seems to think his youngster is well suited for the position.
"I also think with Juan now, with the type of players we have now, his first choice could be a wide position and I know he’s quite happy playing wide," Backe said of Agudelo. "[He] gets a little more time and space on the ball instead of being a striker and the center back sits on [him]."
Rodgers has been one of the key cogs in the Red Bulls attack this season. He is second on the team with nine goals, adding three assists to his point total. The Red Bulls are 9-3-8 in games Rodgers has started and just 1-5-8 in games he did not start.