Red Bulls: A New Player?, Kassel to MLS?, and VDB fires RBNY into the new season…

Busy weekend in world soccer and before we get to all that, I figured why not focus on the team that didn’t play a competitive match this weekend.  

– Haven’t seen much in the way of written press on this, but there isn’t anything to refute. During FSC’s broadcast of the MLS openers yesterday, there was talk of Gretna’s demise over in Scotland. 22 players have left the club and apparently captain Chris Innes is on his way to trial with New York. If that’s the case, that’s leadership and depth added in defense as well as a deep midfield role. Innes is 31 years old and was a vital part of Gretna’s quick three tiered rise to the SPL. Since then, things have gone bad and RBNY as well as First Division squad Morton has shown interest. Innes has stated as recent as 3/26 that his goal is to stay within the SPL.

UPenn graduate and rising goalkeeper Danny Cepero has been sent out on loan to USL-2’s Harrisburg City Islanders. The Islanders won the second division last year and Cepero looks to get the starting nod, preparing him for a bright future with RBNY. Harrisburg has yet to confirm it on their website.
– Ives Galarcep has stated that youth academy star Matt Kassel is in preliminary negotiations with RBNY. If signed, he could become the first real product of the newly implemented youth academies. It’s college or pros for the youngster. I still would expect him to head to college. He held his own though when invited to camp in late January, so who knows?

Dave Van den Bergh scored on a rocket to wrap up the Red Bulls’ preseason with a 1-0 win over the Carolina Railhawks. Odd to see Angel and Altidore being snuffed out in almost every preseason game…should RBNY faithful be worried???

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Red Bull New York 2007 Review: An Atypically Typical Year

Red Bull New York
Record (W-L-T): 12-11-7; 47 GF, 45 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports; roster

Overview
All in all, and perhaps a little sadly, this was a pretty typical year for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) New York franchise: uneven, unsettled, and, as always, unrewarded.  But a couple oddities put a fresh twist or two on the familiar: a start to the season strong enough to convince a few that the team had rounded a corner; the simple, frankly shocking presence of a reliable scoring tandem; finally, the year of the designated player, the Year of the Bruce and how those factors interacted.  In a sense, then, the narrative for 2007 was all wrong in that it offered Red Bull New York something positively foreign: hope and promise.  That they kept that alive until, arguably, August inches a little bit further from the “typical.”  But Red Bull’s season ended as they always do, which means that even if things didn’t quite go to Hell after August, they got close enough to make legible the famous statement about hope posted on the gate.

Now, where does that leave us?  It was a typical year, but it wasn’t?  Damned unsatisfying, that, but it seems accurate.  For instance, in the typical column you had Clint Mathis back with the team and starring in the early going (not to mention getting sent off twice by early June – neat trick for an offensive player).   In the atypical column, the Red Bull roster featured one of the hottest American prospects in Josmer “Jozy” Altidore and one of the league’s deadliest forwards in Juan Pablo Angel.  Back in the typical column, Bruce Arena played the role of high-profile coach, while, almost tragically, Claudio Reyna played the too-familiar, over-priced under-achiever. Continue reading

DC Routs RBNY – On a Roll? (I Think So)

Watching last night’s game has me feeling a lot like right about Red Bull New York and DC United – though more about the latter than the former. As you’ll see in the (barely coherent) notes transcribed below, I’m thinking DC is rounding into their formula.

On a very basic level, the secret of DC’s success boils down to having good players playing a simple and correct game; the crucial thing comes with getting the players singing from the same sheet – as DC is doing right now. They get into this rhythm and, every time the other team presses – as Red Bull tried to do late – DC, down to a man, can cope. It’s the combination of passing and moving. You can teach a fucking monkey to do this, but too few teams do.

In a moment of some extravagance (what can I say? I get a little, um, “loose” when I watch a game…or is it tight?), I wrote, “This is the future of American soccer: teaching these basics – e.g. passing and movement off the ball – to the players.” That’s not it, of course: we’ll take the next step, as a league and as a national team, when players can build from those basics, but kind of nuts and bolts of that kind matter to the point of being fundamental.

As for Red Bull, I’m back to thinking I had them pegged a week or so ago; this simply isn’t that good a team. They struggle to use the good parts they have, against decent opposition at least. More significantly, Red Bull didn’t look all that different in last night’s loss than they did in a recent(-ish) win over Toronto: actually, they kept more passes in play last night, but the passes out of the back failed to find their mark, while DC’s pressure kept them from playing through the midfield.

Moving on to my notes…which are amended in parentheses where necessary…which seems too often by far… Continue reading