Since it is MLS policy not to disclose any information on signings and contracts and such, the best we can do is speculate. And that is exactly what we’re going to do.
As of today, the Red Bulls have 24 of 30 roster slots filled up. This includes 2 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 8 midfielders and 6 strikers (Luke Rodgers will be the seventh if his work visa is approved on Thursday). The first 20 positions on the roster are for senior players who have a minimum salary of $44,000 and who count against the salary cap. Positions 20-30 are for off budget players, such as Generation Adidas signings (whose salary is paid for by the league), Homegrown Players (whose salary doesn’t count against the cap) and players signed to Developmental contracts. Players occupying slots 25 through 30 have a minimum salary of $33,750 for the 2012 season, and any player making this minimum salary must not be 25 or older throughout 2012.
First let’s start with a few known facts:-Juan Agudelo and Connor Lade are off-budget players on account of being Homegrown Players and Corey Hertzog, as a Generation Adidas signing, is also an off-budget player.
-Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez each count for $350,000 against the salary cap because they are both Designated Players.
-Recently signed trialists Tyler Ruthven (23) and Jose Angulo (turned 24 in January) can be signed to $33,750 contracts as they are both under 25.
-The salary cap for 2012 is $2,810,000.
-If the club decides to leave 2 slots between 25 and 30 empty, it can use $35,000 in allocation money for each.
-If Luke Rodger’s work visa is approved on Thursday, he will occupy the 19th slot in this draw-up.
-The first 20 slots are players signed to senior team contract and 18 of these must be filled by the Red Bulls for 2012. If 18 of the first 20 slots are not filled, a team will be charged a fine by the league which would then count against the team’s salary budget.
My projection of the New York Red Bulls’ roster is:
1. Thierry Henry, F, 34
2. Rafael Marquez, M, 33
3. Joel Lindpere, M, 30
4. Teemu Tainio, M, 32
5. Marcus Holgersson, D, 26
6. Jan Gunnar Solli, D, 30
7. Roy Miller, D, 27
8. Wilman Conde, D, 29
9. Mehdi Ballouchy, M, 28
10. Dane Richards, M, 28
11. Dax McCarty, M, 24
12. Kenny Cooper, F, 27
13. John Borrajo, D, 24
14. Stephen Keel, D, 28
15. Jeremy Vuolo, GK, 24
16. Jhonny Arteaga, F, 25
17. Jose Angulo, F, 25
18. Victor Palsson, M, 20 *
21. Juan Agudelo
22. Connor Lade
23. Corey Hertzog
25. Ryan Meara
26. Tyler Ruthven
27. Jose Angulo
29. $35,000 allocation money
30. $35,000 allocation money
*Victor Palsson could be in position 28 based on his age, but I think he is on a senior contract.
Even with Luke Rodgers, this would leave a roster slot (#20) available for the promised summer DP midfield signing that we’ve been waiting a few years for.
I’m not a big fan of the trialist signings, but they let us avoid the league fine and provide fodder for practices and reserve matches.