- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 26, 2010
- 2 Comments
- Austin de Luz, Bouna Coundoul, Carlos Mendes, Dane Richards, Greg Sutton, Hans Backe, Jeremy Hall, Joel Lindpere, John Wolyniec, Juan Pablo Angel, Kevin Goldthwaite, Macoumba Kandji, Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Tony Tchani
Its been a little while since we did a preseason look in on a MLS club. We hammered out about half of the league already but with the on-going CBA issue things like this had to take a backseat for a little while. Well today we’re back on the horse and continue on our preseason coverage here.
Today we have the New York Red Bulls. A lot of talk always surrounds this club each year and 2010 will be no different as the club has a new arena (finally) and a new direction in terms of management (yet again). Hans Backe is now the manager with Eric Solar leading the charge in the front office when it comes to player moves. No longer is it Juan Carlos Osorio making ill-advised moves with Jeff Agoos.
The thing is will it actually matter? Will the Solar/Backe move actually pay off and New York shines in their first season in the mecca that will be Red Bull Arena? Time will tell but we can say that anything should be an improvement on last year’s product.
So let’s see where New York is with each part of their roster and what further moves are needed to be made before the season kicks off.
Who they have: Bouna Coundoul.
Notes: First of all they do have guys like former TFC keeper Greg Sutton in camp right now. Good thing too because Coundoul is not the answer for their keeping situation. I know some folks like him but I just don’t believe he is a solid #1 in this league. His time in Colorado was decent but never great. If the Red Bulls go with him all year their success on the field won’t be too great. But if their defense improve from last year then it may be a gamble worth taking.
Sadly at this point with the CBA issues at hand it will be tough for New York to get a real solid keeper in camp. If I were them I’d be doing everything possible to get Kevin Hartmen from KC. Or I’d be tossing some trades around to someone like San Jose to get Joe Cannon.
Who they have: Kevin Goldthwaite, Chris Albright, Tim Ream, Carlos Mendes, Roy Miller, and Andrew Boyens.
Notes: A decent bunch with the pickup of Albright and Miller. If Mendes can turn his play back into what it was a couple years ago they may be set in the back.
So far in preseason play this group hasn’t played too bad. As long as Albright gets to be 100%, Miller proves he is a good signing and the rest of the group does their stuff right this team could surprise a few folks. I still think they are a little weak in the back though, plus I’m not entirely sure their centerbacks are good enough to keep up with some of the better offenses in the league just yet.
One guy to keep an eye on is Ream, I really think he’ll be one of the surprise rookies from this year.
Who they have: Seth Stammler, Siniša Ubiparipović, Danleigh Boreman, Irving Garcia, Austin de Luz, Jeremy Hall, Dane Richards, Joel Lindpere, Ernst Öbster, Tony Tchani, and Luke Sassano.
Notes: This group is really the make or break group for me with this club. If the new additions from Europe pay off it will make Backe and Solar look like geniuses. For the last couple years we’ve seen this club go strictly after South American talent here and none of them payed off (except for their DP Juan Pablo Angel).
Enter Lindpere and Obster, two guys far from their usual reaches in South America. Some preseason talk of those two have been positive and the rest has been okay, nothing too negative at this point. Lindpere is a hard worker in the center of the park, which has been lacking from this club.
Also let’s not forget the two rookies de Luz and Tchani. I have to think both will see plenty of action this year and Tchani has to be in the early discussion for ROY.
I do worry about this club on the wings a bit. I know Miller has played decent on the wings in preseason but still seeing Boreman and Richards on the roster worries me that the club is going to lean on their speed over everything else. Neither really bring anything else to the table in my mind but maybe Backe can figure out something more to do with each of them that Osorio couldn’t.
Who they have: Juan Pablo Angel, Macoumba Kandji, John Wolyniec, and Conor Chinn.
Notes: I do believe that Angel will return to a better year now that he isn’t playing 15 home games on turf. Getting his home games on natural grass will go a long way in getting his production back up. I look for a big year out of him right away.
After that I wonder who will help lead the charge. You can always count on Wolyniec for a few goals but that’s usually off the bench. Kandji is good but I’d really like to see more out of him this season and prove to the league why the Red Bulls paid a transfer fee from a USL club to get him.
The big thing will be interesting to watch this summer, will the Red Bulls use their second DP slot at the transfer window? I think this may be the year they do it, especially if they are close to a playoff spot going into the ladder half of the summer.
I think this club will improve under Backe and no that’s not the Swedish biased in me talking I really believe that. I think for once this club isn’t going into a season with a load of hype built up by the media and that is a good thing. The only hype they have is with their new digs at Red Bull Arena, which will be special.
Is this club a playoff contender right now? I doubt it, but if their defense shows up a little more this year then we have to think it is possible. Unlike last year they won’t have a crazy schedule that puts them on the road for four games in a row or weird stretches of going from coast to coast. Its a more do-able schedule for them.
I think they are improved but they still have some ways to go with their wing play and in the back. I still don’t like their keeper situation and I’d love to see them go after Hartman or Cannon. I’d also really like to see them make a move for another ex-Wizard in Claudio Lopez. He’s a guy I really think would do a lot of good in New York. But I doubt either of those moves will take place until a CBA gets worked out.