Trying to Figure Out What Wrong Went with the Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls traveled to Frisco, Texas, to take on FC Dallas for the season opener, but half the team thought it was still preseason.  Roy Miller was horrible and Dane Richards lacked quality.  Juan Agudelo got the start and played 90 minutes, but looked isolated and lost for large parts of the game.  Thierry Henry was sharp and match ready, but not even the Frenchman’s enthusiasm could ignite a New York comeback in this match.  The Red Bulls went down 2-1 to Dallas and will look to rebound against a strong Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Maybe Hans Backe read Leander Schaerlaeckens’s article that criticized the Red Bulls’ coaching staff in their treatment of Juan Agudelo’s development.  First team minutes for a developing player isn’t always a good thing, though.  It was clear to anybody watching last season that Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo just don’t play well together.  The style of their games is just too similar to be successful on the field at the same time.  This was just one of many tactical mistakes made on the day. Continue reading

Red Bulls Postseason Update: February 21, the One in Which the Club Releases 2 Young Players

The first order of business: the club announced on February 10 that they have signed 20 year old Icelandic midfielder Victor Palsson.  He looks to add some depth to the midfield, though in a defensive role already filled by Teemu Tainio and Rafael Marquez.  And now, let’s just cut to the chase.

The Red Bulls decided to release developing young players Sacir Hot and Matt Kassel the other week.  Not only were the defender and midfielder once touted youngsters, they were also Homegrown Players for New York.  Taken by itself, NYRB releasing players isn’t big news.  But given the hype that was produced for two local boys who came through the academy system and the seeming failure of the club to properly invest time or energy into their youth players, this story deservedly ballooned into something bigger.

It is the nature of bloggers, especially sports bloggers (and super-especially soccer bloggers), to purport the mundane as earth-shaking.  And it is true that much of the uproar that appeared on Metrofanatic and the Facebook pages of Supporters’ Groups was the misdirected release of years of bottled up rage.  But there are quite valid gripes to make about the way the club has handled this situation, just the latest in a series of fumbles, and the rationale behind these player releases. Continue reading

Red Bulls Postseason Update: February 1

After the dust from the Super-Draft and Supplement Draft settled (you know, from all the picks that New York made) the Red Bulls continued to seek cover across the field.  Of course, though, we have to begin with the exits from Red Bull Arena.  First and foremost on that list is young American international central defender Tim Ream.  Lots of things have been said about Tim Ream’s transfer from New York to Bolton of the English Premier League.  Now that he is officially not a Red Bull, I don’t have to feel guilty for admitting that Ream is vastly overrated.  He has yet to prove himself at the international level despite numerous opportunities.  The whole of the American soccer community was ranting and raving about Ream’s ability to play the ball out of the back, but he seemingly lost that control of possession and distribution in his second season in MLS.  In fact, instead of directing traffic from the back, Ream instead got caught in possession and coughed the ball up to opposition on a number of occasions in league play.  I’m not sure what Owen Coyle (or Arsenal scouts, for that matter) see in the 24 year old Ream, but maybe there’s a reason the Bolton Wanderers have been struggling in and around the relegation zone all season.

However, Tim Ream’s goal line clearance against Landon Donovan in the 2011 season was nothing short of inspirational for someone who played defense as a kid.

More news after the jump.. Continue reading