- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 5, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Season Preview, Juan Carlos Osorio, Juan Pablo Angel, Season Previews
Moving forward here in our quest to preview all 15 MLS clubs before the start of the season (which begins the week after next!!). Today we focus on the MLS Cup runner-up from a year ago, the New York Red Bulls. Juan Carlos Osorio has spent the offseason putting together a better roster that should be more competitive in the eastern conference this year than it was a year ago. Just how much better remains to be seen though at this point.
2008 Record and finish: 10-11-9, 39pts, fifth in east, MLS Cup runner-up
Offseason Player Movement:
Mike Petke (Waiver Draft)
Dominic Oduro (trade w/ Dallas)
Jeremy Hall (SuperDraft)
Khano Smith (trade with Seattle)
Alfredo Pacheco (transfer from C.D. FAS – El Salvador)
Jack Traynor (SuperDraft)
Nick Zimmerman (SuperDraft)
Gabriel Cichero (waived)
Gordan Kljestan (waived)
Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders FC – Expansion Draft)
Sainey Touray (waived)
Diego Jiminez (loan expired)
Dave van den Burgh (trade w/ Dallas)
Mike Magee (trade with LA)
Chris Leitch (trade with San Jose)
Questions going into 2009:
1. With the new additions are the Red Bulls really that much better than a year ago?
Let’s be honest, most of the players Osorio went out and get in the midseason were total wastes of time, space and money to the club. Not all were bad (Diego Jiminez) but most weren’t great (Gabriel Cichero). I like the additions of Dominic Oduro. Matching him up on the wings with Dane Richards should be exciting to watch.
Defensively if the club can get one or two more parts in the back I will easily have no problem expecting a deep playoff run out of them once again. Saying that though I will give the club a few games based on Osorio’s track record of finding players for this club. Its been hit or miss so far and if he gets more duds than stars it could be another bad year defensively speaking for this club.
2. Can Juan Pablo Angel produce again?
I think this is a simple answer. Yes he can and will produce again in 2009. Maybe the biggest question will be who will be servicing the ball to him this time around. Dave van den Burgh was one of the main guys doing that a year ago. I look for the Angel-Juan Rojas connection to be even better in 2009 than what we barely got to see in 2008.
Speaking of Rojas, a lot will go through him this year. If he lives up to his ability and play better than in the latter part of 2008, then I would fully expect New York to be in the mix of things for the top of the east.
3. Player due for a breakout season.
Macoumba Kandji. If the kid’s speed shows up and he lives up to some of the hype that surrounds him we could see the perfect counterpart to Angel. I think if Angel has trouble producing for some reason this year, Kandji needs to be the guy help step in and fill the scoring duties.
Look at the 2009 Schedule:
A very full schedule early on and lighter (in league play) late in the year due to the CONCACAF Champions League. May is a great month for this club as four of five games are at home.
Things that could stand in the way of this club doing well are the couple Thursday-Sunday swings that they will have to do this year. They have one early on in April and one in June. With three of those four games being on the road. The club also has a Wednesday-Saturday swing in June too, both games on the road.
If they can get to the summer months injury free with Angel and company producing and the defense not giving up cheap goals like they did a year ago you could see this club do very well with this schedule.
2009 Season Outlook:
For me the Red Bulls are either going to be a true contender this year for both the eastern crown and the MLS Cup or they will be a big disappointment. I just haven’t been able to pinpoint how good they will or will not be just. It was like that for me a year ago until I saw them in person here in Dallas that I knew what type of team that they were.
Should all parties live up to their respective hype this year we could see this be something really good. I think a lot still rests on the defense of this club. If they start giving up cheap goals it could spell trouble for the club, and Osorio if they aren’t winning.