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Red Bulls battered back line ready for today’s MLS test

Apr 28, 2012, 12:38 PM EDT

Vancouver Whitecaps FC v New York Red Bulls Getty Images

Markus Holgersson has yet to find his MLS stride, and it’s safe to say the Red Bulls expected more of their winter defensive signing.

And yet, Holgersson will probably be the best defender along New York’s battered back line today against New England.

Tyler Ruthven, with a grand total of one professional match of experience, looks set to partner Holgersson in the middle. Conor Lade, the replacement left back who was out-muscled for one goal last week, will line up again on the left. And utility knife Brandon Barklage seems the man on the spot along the right.

Well, good luck with all that.

Of course, it’s not just the injuries to defenders Wilman Conde, Jan Gunnar Solli, Stephen Keel and Roy Miller that make things so defensively dire at Red Bull Arena. (Solli is only questionable, not “out” like the others. So there’s that.)

Rafael Marquez would usually be able to step into a center back spot, where he’s played before (at the highest level, in fact). But he’s not available; you probably heard about that. So he won’t even be around to perform his usual screening role in front of the back line.

On the other hand, all the scoring ability that lies in the feet of Kenny Cooper and, especially, Thierry Henry, gives New York a chance in today’s 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on NBC Sports Network.

You want goals. Tune in. Because you’re likely to get them.

Here’s what Henry and some of the young defensive replacements are saying ahead of Saturday’s contest from Harrison, N.J.:

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