New York Red Bulls Season Preview

New York Red Bulls Season Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 20, 2008

Today we continue our season previews – this time taking a look at New York Red Bulls.

2007 Record and Finish: 12-11-7, 43 pts., third in the east, sixth overall, lost in eastern semi-final

Player Movement:

Incoming: Zach Thornton (signed), Eric Brunner (SuperDraft), Luke Sassano (SuperDraft), Danleigh Borman (Supplemental Draft), Oscar Echeverry (transfer)

Outgoing: Ronald Waterreus (retired), Markus Schopp (retired), Clint Mathis (trade with LA), Joe Vide (Expansion Draft), Demo Kovalenko (trade with RSL), Francis Doe (waived), Santino Quaranta (waived, later signed with DC)

Questions Going Into 2008:

1. Has this club done enough in the offseason to improve from last year?

Honestly, aside from the draft picks that they got I don’t think they have done nearly enough to compete with DC, New England and even Kansas City or Chicago. I know sometimes it can be tough for a new coach like Juan Carlos Osorio to get the type of players that he wants in his system but he has had a couple months here since taking over this club and only really Oscar Echeverry has transfered to this club.

Now I know there has been a slew of trialists but only one (Lider Marmol) has come close to a deal (though I know Marmol will probably end up in Chicago).

There is still some time before the MLS transfer window closes next month. But with the way things have looked so far this winter and now into spring, the Red Bulls haven’t done much at all to improve their depth.

2. How much better will this club be under Osorio?

We saw a big improvement in Chicago last year under Osorio in that short amount of time that he was the coach there. Thing was I think it was partly due to Blanco for the offensive improvements and to Wilham Conde for the defensive improvements. Before those two players came to the Fire, the offense was in shambles and the defense lacked any toughness.

New York is in an interesting state though, their offense is one of the best in the league with Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore. The midfield needs improvement but should be alright once all parts are healthy. Its the defense that will give this club the most trouble. Osorio should install his toughness in the back but this club needs a defensive signing to really make me believe that it will happen.

The club should be better with Osorio as coach but as stated before there are just parts missing in the defense and in the midfield before I think this club keeps up with DC and New England in the east.

3. Will we see a better Claudio Reyna this season?

We should but then again we should have seen a good Reyna last year. Reyna stepped up when his team needed him to late last year but for the most part last season was a bit of a waste considering his pay. Thing was last year he was having to play more defense than he wanted to and that isn’t his trade. For the Red Bulls to be successful they need Reyna in more of an attacking role. I think with Osorio’s system in place that should happen more this year.

However, if injuries happen he could have to slide back into that role like last season. Not to mention he needs to be healthy this season as well. From what I’ve read this preseason Reyna looks better and appears to be more fit. He has a nice assist in the Carolina Cup against Toronto to set up a goal. I think for the Red Bulls to make noise this season Reyna has to get to a 10 assist mark, if not more than that.

4. What does the schedule hold for this club?

Early on a lot of home games. Out of the first eight, five are at home. The first month could be a good barometer on this club with games at home against Columbus and San Jose. They need six points there early on to get confidence. A road game in Dallas could be tough as well as facing New England at home.

The schedule early on should give this club some good points if they take advantage of it.

June will be a tough month however when they have to face Chivas twice, DC and New England on the road as well as a home game with Dallas.

The late season surge could happen as well in the final two months. They face RSL twice (home and away), Columbus twice (home and away), Chicago twice (both on the road), and two home games with Toronto and Colorado. The chances will be there to get points going into the playoffs, if they are in contention of doing so by then.

5. How valuable will Echeverry be for this club?

Consider the amount of games that Altidore should miss this summer, I think Red Bull fans will quickly see why the club went out and signed a forward this offseason. Though at times this preseason he hasn’t looked all that great he will get plenty of playing time to show off his speed and ball skills. I doubt he will be the biggest signing of the offseaosn but he could prove to be one of the most valuable ones. As good as this club is with Angel and Altidore, they will be even better with a quality backup like Echeverry.

2008 Season Outlook:

This is another one of those clubs that could do very well this season in the league. Notice the word ‘could’ here. I think this club still has a lot to do in terms of depth and getting some better talent in defense and in the midfield. Injuries will kill this club (who is already without Dane Richards for a couple months) again this season.

Will this be the club that finally gets over the enigma that is the underachieving MetroStars/Red Bulls? Maybe, just as last year the offense will have to carry this club. There are still some big holes in the lineup but with Osorio as coach they should get patches up nicely. Thing is the clock is ticking on filling those holes like landing a left winger, a left back and an attacking midfielder.

If those needs aren’t met before the MLS transfer window closes this club will not be able to compete with DC and New England and have to wait it out to use the salary cap space that they have in the summer. That may be too little too late here.

In the east this club should make the playoffs but not if they don’t get some help. Right now they aren’t even a lock to reach the playoffs, even as a wild-card in my book. They have the right coaching and the ability to but their depth will hurt them if they don’t act fast. Just as last season, this is one club that I just cannot buy into going into the season. They may prove me wrong in a few games early on like last year but in the end they will fall apart just as before. I think there is always too much wishful thinking surrounding this club and not enough people looking at them realisticly.

Again, the playoffs are certain but could happen. I don’t really see them winning the MLS Cup though, not with that defense at least…not to mention the fact that I don’t think Jon Conway is a real good number one starter in goal but that is all they have to really choice from here. Still, I’ve been proven wrong before but I think this club has a lot of work to do to prove me wrong.