Luis Binks admits going south to make Red Bull Arena ‘home’ will not be easy, but he’s determined to look forward and not dwell on the missed opportunities to progress in the Canadian Championship.
“Would have been great to win a national championship and get something really worthwhile from this strange season. It didn’t work out for reasons that don’t matter, but we’re ready to move on. Our attention is on a place in the play-offs and doing the best possible in the league,” said Binks, who steered clear of any criticism of central defensive partner Rudy Camacho, Wednesday night’s villain of the peace.
Instead he had support for his colleague...
“Obviously there’s been a few mistakes but I think a lot of people are missing the good things he’s been doing as well... [Playing at centre-back] a mistake from either me or him normally ends up in a goal.
“They [the press] haven’t highlighted some of the passing he’s done, some of the defending he’s done, so it’s been very tough on him, but yeah, there’s no doubt he’ll come through this and whenever the ban’s finished he’ll get back in the side if works hard, which in training he does.”
Going back on the road is difficult, but maybe a bit less for the 19-year-old Englishman who points to the examples of some team-mates with recent additions to their families.
“It’s going to be very difficult, maybe not so much for someone like myself, because I’m [generally] in Montreal alone, but for players with new babies, Sam, Saph, Rudy, it’s going to be a lot more difficult for them going away and leaving home, but like I say for me it’s just going to play football, so I think I’ll adapt very quickly.”
Perhaps not surprisingly for someone who has never felt the real atmosphere of Stade Saputo, he still considers the venue home.
“When we’ve played at Saputo Stadium, there’s only been 250 fans, but it’s still home. I think very quickly we have to make that [RB Arena] our home. I don’t think there will be any advantage to us playing there but somehow we’ve got to try and do it and it won’t be easy.
“It’s like nothing I’ve never done before and I don’t think any of the other players have either. So I’m not sure how we’re going to do it but at the end of the day we’re just playing football, so we have to get three points and try and win as many games as we can.”
Binks and his team-mates see the upcoming schedule as unwelcome and less than ideal, but they all realize it’s the only way they can get back to playing games again.
But he feels fresh and ready to put his body on the line in all three encounters over the next eight days.
“I’ve no reason to be tired. I’m still young, I feel good, so if I’m chosen to play all three games I’ll be delighted. But obviously the games are coming pretty quick and fast, so there probably will be a bit of rotation because it’s not easy playing 3 games in 7 days.
“I know I’m ready and a lot of the other players are, but yeah, hopefully I can start all three, but who knows?”
The young Englishman will be playing his first-ever game in New York and expects a tough encounter, but sees no reason why the Montrealers cannot prevail, despite the fine form of Jim Curtin’s Philadelphia Union.
“It’s not easy playing against a team that’s on the up. They’ve a lot of confidence but I think we’ve already shown this year [we can handle this]. Obviously Toronto were on a very big run of wins and we managed to put a stop to that.
If we can approach the game the same way as we did with Toronto, there’s no reason as to why we can’t beat them. And we’ve played some good football over the last six games, so if we go into Sunday’s game with the same mentality, same style of play, there’s no reason why we can’t beat them.”
He sees Union’s on-form, German striker Kacper Przybylko as a potential danger-man, but is quick to point out he’s not the only one.
“I watched him play when we were down in Orlando. Like you say he’s a very big striker, but he’s not their only threat. They’ve players like Aaronson, who plays just behind him. He’s a very good player as well, a young player so he’ll be a threat.”
He’s right to highlight the importance of Brenden Aaronson whose performances have been instrumental in Philadelphia’s improvement throughout the past 18 months. An attacking midfielder with a great engine allowing him also to play box-to-box, he’s claimed three goals and two assists this season.
Home-grown, Aaronson, like Binks only 19, has made a place in the team his own since the beginning of last season, and has earned international recognition too, starting in the US MNT’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica back in February.
Expect then to see two outstanding teenagers on display on Sunday evening (7pm). Whichever one works out the best way to deal with Przybylko, alongside or against, could well be the key to victory.
Projected Line-ups -
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Raitala, Binks, Corrales - Wanyama, Shome - Piette, Taider, Okwonkwo - Quioto
Union - Blake - Gaddis, Glesnes, McKenzie, Mbaizo - Creavalle - Bedoya, Aaronson, Jamiro Monteiro - Przybylko, Sergio Santos
Match Officials -
- Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
- Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Adam Wienckowski
- 4th Official: Thomas Snyder
- VAR: Alan Kelly