New York Red Bulls defender Chris Albright is happy that Philadelphia has a soccer franchise, but disappointed that he won't be able to play this weekend in the first-ever match between his current team and the one from his adopted hometown.
A 1997 graduate of Penn Charter, Albright has been on the disabled list for the Red Bulls, recovering from two different surgeries to his left knee that limited him to one game last season for the New England Revolution.
He says he expects to return on May 8, when he's eligible to come off the disabled list. A three-time Major League Soccer all-star who has earned 22 caps with the U.S. National Team, Albright is looking forward to eventually facing the Union (1-2), who visit the Red Bulls (3-1) in Saturday's 4 p.m. Major League Soccer matchup.
"It would be fun to be part of it - but at the same time, we come down to Philadelphia later in the year and hopefully I'll be good to play then," Albright said in a phone interview.
The Red Bulls visit the Union on Oct. 16.
Albright is happy that Philadelphia finally has an MLS franchise.
"It's been a long time coming and there are great soccer fans in Philadelphia," he said. "It's well deserved, and is good for the league and good for the city."
Union assistant coach John Hackworth says that one of the strengths of the Red Bulls has been their backline, which obviously becomes stronger upon Albright's return.
"Chris is a guy who has had a long, illustrious career and will bring a lot of experience," Hackworth said. " . . . He brings a lot of depth."
Notes. With central defender Danny Califf out this week after receiving a red card in last week's 2-1 loss at Toronto, Hackworth said that either Toni Stahl or Shavar Thomas would likely step into the starting spot. The other central defender is Michael Orozco, who has been among the Union's steadiest players. . . . The Red Bulls opened some eyes by scoring a 1-0 win over the host Seattle Sounders FC on April 3. The Union lost at Seattle, 2-0, in the first game in franchise history. Seattle is the only common opponent for the Union and Red Bulls so far.
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci
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