HARRISON, N.J. -- New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe is finishing the season as the leading candidate for the Coach of the Year in MLS and one of his Designated Player signings, Rafa Marquez, believes that the praise the 58-year old Swedish coach receives is well warranted.
"He likes to play soccer, meaning that he likes to move around the ball," said Marquez. "He's a really offensive[-minded coach]. He likes the offensive style of play."
Backe was an assistant to one of Marquez's former international coaches in Sven Goran Eriksson. The 31-year-old Mexican national team captain remembers Backe's role during that period of time and believes that becoming a head coach has allowed Backe to show his identity in his style of coaching.
"There is a difference," said Marquez. "When Eriksson was coach of Mexico, he made all of the moves [decisions]. Now, Hans is making all of the decisions. He is using all of his ideas and we support him."
Still, Marquez does see the similarities in both coaches.
"There are friends and they've worked together for a while. They have some things that are similar."
Marquez took a nasty hit in the 73rd minute that forced him out of the game. It was revealed shortly after that he sustained a left ankle injury. Speaking with reporters, the 31-year-old believes that he should be able to play in the team's next game but admits that he might have to sit it out.
"It should be good for next Thursday but, if not, then we'll have to give the opportunity to someone else," said Marquez.
Marquez has been pivotal in the Red Bulls' recent success. His solid passing and ability to interrupt other team's offenses in the midfield has elevated the team's play. Teammate Thierry Henry believes that there is a substantial difference in the team's performance when he is on the pitch.
"When you play with Rafa, he calms things down," said Henry. "When he came out, we kind of suffered a bit."
Alex Labidou, a Goal.com contributor, is based in New York city. Follow him on Twitter @sportslab.
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