A funny thing happened to the former Soviet bloc country Estonia during its Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. They didn't roll over and die. In fact they finished a startling second in Group C meaning they head to a two leg playoff against Ireland in November in order to qualify for their first ever Euro Cup. This is certainly a historic moment for the small Eastern European country. Joel Lindpere, for those who don't know is Estonian and has been capped 74 times for his country. The two leg playoff takes place right in between the MLS Conference finals and MLS Cup. See the dilemma?
The Red Bulls have quite the conundrum on hand. It would be the decent thing to do, letting the player who's been the heart and soul of the team compete in a once in a lifetime opportunity for his home country. On the other hand, would it really benefit the team to send it's player halfway across the world should they be in the midst of an MLS Cup run? It really wouldn't. The team absolutely could not afford to have Joel Lindpere jet lagged and worn out in and MLS Cup final match. He's having a career season and his contribution is essential to the Red Bulls' success. The fire he brings to this squad is also unmatched by anyone else on this team. Who scored when the team was clearly done against RSL? Who acted as if that match wasn't lost yet? Joel Lindpere. As great an opportunity it would be for Lindpere, the Red Bulls have to look out for their own interests and cannot let Lindpere leave.
Or can they...
Lindpere has had plenty of opportunities to be tired. He's had plenty of opportunities to quit. And yet the man keeps on going. It seemingly would be a smart bet that Lindpere would come back from Europe and put in his usual team MVP performance. The man just doesn't quit no matter what's stacked against him. Lindpere is also in his contract year and it would be wise for the Red Bulls to do whatever they possibly can to resign him. Allowing him to partake in this historic opportunity would be a sign of good faith by the organization that Lindpere could very well consider when he decides whether or not to stay in NY or go back to Europe to ply his trade in the top flight. With that in mind, the Red Bulls may very well have everything to gain from letting him go play for Estonia.
Of course this could all be a moot point as it would require the team to expand upon it's already miraculous playoff push to a miraculous MLS Cup run. Should the far more likely scenario of the team getting knocked out earlier happen, then it's a no brainer for Lindpere and the team to go play for Estonia.
Either way, it's an interesting story that could get all the more dramatic should the team find late season success.