Major League Soccer
The New York Red Bulls in One Word: Grounded
Kenny Cooper and Rafa Marquez may be gone, but the Red Bulls' prospects are better than ever thanks to Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave and new coach Mike Petke.
BY Matt Thacker PostedDuring the second half of last season, the New York Red Bulls featured Major League Soccer’s three highest-paid players not named David Beckham: Tim Cahill, Thierry Henry, and Rafa Marquez. All the star power and talent amounted to nothing as the Red Bulls once again fizzled and went out in the conference semifinals. While off-season changes are nothing new for New York, this winter has been different. The Red Bulls are building a strong foundation that includes young Americans and proven MLS talent. Local fan favorite Mike Petke was promoted from assistant to head coach, and the team decided not to bring back an astounding 16 players from last season. Jámison Olave and Kosuke Kimura should help strengthen a defense that gave up the second-most goals of any playoff teams last year. The midfield will be strong with Dax McCarty and Cahill as well as newcomers Juninho Pernambucano and Eric Alexander. New York led the league in goals last year but could struggle to replace Kenny Cooper’s 18 goals. Henry may take on more of the goal-scoring burden with Fabián Espíndola a better passer than target forward. The Red Bulls still have room to add another designated player in the summer. Kaká seems unlikely this year, but do not be surprised if another big name is added. Expected finish: 4th in the Eastern Conference. A rookie coach and new players throughout the field need time to gel, but this team will be dangerous when everything clicks.
March 03, 2013
March 03, 2013