Posted on July 14, 2012
By Kristian R. Dyer
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – After playing what coach Hans Backe called his best performance in his two years with the New York Red Bulls in a 3-2 win over D.C. United on June 26, Rafa Marquez missed the next two games with a leg injury. It was an unsurprising bit of bad luck for a player who has never really gelled with his MLS team.
Now, Marquez has been back and training with his Red Bull teammates in preparation for Sunday’s match against Seattle at Red Bull Arena and the hope is that he can find that form from three weeks ago. The Red Bulls’ Designated Player has made only seven appearances for the Major League Soccer club this year, something that has frustrated the second highest salaried player on the roster.
“Obviously frustrating because I felt like I was getting in tune with everything else that was happening on the field and was able to provide my role to get the team to where we want it to be,” Marquez said after practice at Montclair State University on Friday. “So it was obviously frustrating to come out from that environment that was created.”
His performance that last time on the field against United showed the type of player he can be and why the Red Bulls invested so heavily to obtain his services. Marquez controlled the backline, started possession and rarely panicked. He was smooth, savvy and poised.
In other words, he wasn’t the player that Red Bulls supporters have grown accustomed to jeering over the past two years.
Marquez has underwhelmed during his time in New York but the hope is now that he can turn things around this season. He claims that whether he is anchoring the backline or playing in the midfield that he just wants to contribute.
“For me it doesn’t really matter. My natural position is the middle of the defense,” Marquez said. “I’m very familiar with the other positions as well.”
On Aug. 15, the Mexican National Team will host the United States at Estadio Azteca in Mexico in an international friendly. Marquez, the team captain who has appeared in only one of Mexico’s last five matches due to injuries, could well be a part of that squad.
“I hope so. I hope that I can be a part of that again,” he said.
Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer
Photo: Rafa Marquez has been frusrated by his injuries this season. Photo courtesy of the Red Bulls
Categories: Mexico, North America
Tags: D.C. United, Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls, Rafa Marquez, Seattle Sounders