With the New York Red Bulls struggling in both the midfield and on defense, Joel Lindpere thinks the return of Rafa Marquez will provide a significant boost.
"He can be a big help to our team both in the attack and on defense. I really hope he comes back to the team and makes a good impact. I know he will," Lindpere explained to Goal.com.
The former Barcelona center back is returning from his suspension as a result of his altercation with Landon Donovan during the 2011 playoffs. Returning to the holding midfielder role where he thrived in his first season in MLS, Marquez will be motivated to help people forget about his poor sophomore year in the league.
"He's like every other player, he wants to win. Why would he play here if he didn't want to win? I think he really wants to step up and help the team and he's working really hard," Lindpere said. "Everyone wants his help with the team [on the field] because of his quality.
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Focusing on the current roster, Lindpere asserts that the team has been unlucky in its opening two losses as the club has had to face two of MLS's top teams in FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake on the road. The 30-year-old expects that the Red Bulls will perform a lot better in their home opener against the Colorado Rapids.
"I think everyone understands that we have to forget these two games and move on," Lindpere said. "It's only the start of the season. We're going to show what we're made of at home."
Possibly wanting to lessen the pressure for Saturday's match, Lindpere has stressed that the club's first game at Red Bull Arena this season isn't a must-win game for the team.
"It's the third game of the season. There's 34 games in the season and then there's playoffs," Lindpere pointed out. "Must-win games are when you really need to win [to keep the season alive]."
He explains the added priority of the next game is simply because the Red Bulls want to have a stellar record at home this season. Last year, in arguably the best soccer stadium in the country, the Red Bulls had an average record at home, winning eight, losing three and drawing six. That's something Lindpere would like to avoid this season.
"We don't want to let anyone to come to our stadium and take points from us," said Linpere.