Red Bulls practice report


Good afternoon all. I spent the morning at Red Bulls practice, hoping to get a sense of the state of the team as it heads into a much-needed bye week. There were no new players to mention, no trialists, just the same old faces trying to work out of a funk that has the Red Bulls in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Here is a rundown of what went down at training:

Gabriel Cichero was in training but still hasn’t been officially added to the squad. The team expects Cichero to be available for the Red Bulls next MLS match, against D.C. United on Aug. 10.

Former Houston forward Franco Caraccio was in training and I have to say that I don’t think he’s the player the Red Bulls are looking for.

Why? He isn’t particularly fast and isn’t that strong (Jeff Parke single-handedly must have knocked him off the ball about six or seven times). What the Red Bulls need is a speedy forward, someone who can stretch defenses and force opposing back-lines to provide some space. While Caraccio does have good feet and appears to pass well, I’m not sure he’s the answer.


Hunter Freeman didn’t look particularly sharp today, particularly in the area of crossing. Freeman’s will see playing time because of his attacking qualities and these days he just isn’t looking very sharp. Is he distracted by the pre-contract talks with Norwegian club IK Start? Is he still getting over missing out on the Olympics? Whatever it is, Freeman needs to start playing better if the Red Bulls are going to be able to overcome the lengthy absence of Jamaican winger Dane Richards.


Danleigh Borman was used exclusively up top today an he looks to be a candidate for emergency duty as a forward. The Red Bulls need speed up top and Borman can provide that. Whether he would work well as a second striker next to Juan Pablo Angel is another story.


Brandon Poltronieri struggled today and still hasn’t signed a deal with the Red Bulls. At this point I would call it unlikely that he signs and it’s safe to say that the lack of progress on a deal has Poltronieri frustrated.


Juan Pietravallo looked decent in training and it is clear he provides more bite than skill in central midfield. He was brought in to help provide some toughness for a midfield that needed some bite. It’s still too early to tell if he will work out but I think he struggled against San Jose early on before showing some improvement in the second half.


I’m not sure if I’ve said it before but Zach Thornton has looked pretty sharp all season. I know there were some concerns about the Red Bulls signing him but he has proven to be a very good shot-stopper in training and with his experience I don’t think the Red Bulls would be in serious trouble if Jon Conway had to miss a match some matches.


John Wolyniec did not train today. He was resting a left knee injury that should be healed in time for the D.C. United match.


As you have heard by now, George Welcome is no longer on the club’s radar. Now while this has been blamed on the Red Bulls reluctance to deal with another Lider Marmol situation where another team has a discovery claim on a player, a source tells me that Welcome’s salary demands might have also played a part in the club moving on.


That’s all for now. Feel free to drop a Red Bulls related question in the comments section and I’ll see if I can provide an answer.

Share your thoughts on these practice observations below.

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20 Responses to Red Bulls practice report

  1. Topher says:

    how did rojas look?

  2. Karl says:

    Good Report Thanks Ives!

  3. DavidJ says:

    Thanks for the update, Ives.

  4. quartz62 says:

    “While Caraccio does have good feet and appears to pass well, I’m not sure he’s the answer.”

    Osorio will

  5. Ives says:

    Rojas looks good. He’s quality, very mobile and very good on the ball. It’s funny but for somereason the way he moves reminds me of a 2001 Clint Mathis. No, Rojas isn’t as fast as 2001 Mathis, but there’s just something in his movement that reminds me of old Mathis.

  6. Topher says:


  7. A.S. says:

    “just the same old faces trying to work out of a funk that has the Red Bulls in last place in the Eastern Conference”

    I don’t know why Ives calls it a “funk”. It’s simply that the players are not very good.

    It’s not a big mystery what the problem with the RB has been so far this season. They started the season with three big time players and the rest of the team being mediocre or worse. They’ve gotten hardly anything from those big three players the first half (as we know, one was hurt and then transferred, another was hurt and then retired, and the third was hurt and has been unspectacular when healthy), and there’s no reason to expect anything from the mediocre players that comprise the remainder of the team.

  8. JSquaredNY says:

    Thanks for the report Ives!

  9. Tim F. says:

    Thanks for this practice report. I love this feature.

    Is Juan Pietravallo an upgrade over Carlos Mendes or just a different look? If it’s just a different look, I would rather take as much money as possible for this second forward. Without a second option to score, teams will just gang up on JPA.

    I really liked Rojas in the first game; I didn’t see the game against the Earthquakes; I’m not sure I want to…

  10. Eugene says:

    Wow, this is very disappointing. If Caraccio isn’t the answer as a 2nd forward, the Red Bulls need to get another few trialists in ASAP. ASAP!

    This team doesn’t have the luxury to take its time and work at a half-ass pace right now. Unless they don’t care about the rest of the season.

    And to think Osorio was considering taking a vacation this weekend… grrrr

  11. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    God i hope we put a bid in for Welcome.

    Im sure Guevara can convince him its a great place to play…

  12. inkedAG says:

    Damn, this team is terrible!!

  13. Pete says:

    “What the Red Bulls need is a speedy forward, someone who can stretch defenses and force opposing back-lines to provide some space.”

    Sounds like RBNY could really use Jeff Cunningham. His rep must be awful if Osorio has already passed on him.

    Ives, it wasn’t clear in your earlier story, did TFC want anything of consequence in return for JC? That might have scared Osorio off as much as the attitude concerns.

  14. Jdoggy says:

    Is there a player practicing named Andre Borges who had been playing in Brazil???

  15. ag nigrin says:

    Thanks for the update Ives…

    Hey A.S. you need to add another S. to your handle… so it it is spelled this way A.S.S.

    Why you may assk? (extra “s” for emphasis)

    VDB, Parke, Stammy, Richards.. These are good and sometimes very good players…they are not mediocre…

  16. brian says:

    speaking of Mathis, why did the Bulls give up on him? I thought he was decent last year–is his salary too high? any chance of him coming back?

  17. nycfan says:

    A.S. you hit it on the head.

    Ag hey surprise, you’re here passing the kool-aid too huh. Yeah bud this teams loaded and ready to take the cup. Seriously lay off the halucinogenics and come back to earth. The Roster, save for a very few, blows.

  18. nycfan says:

    And their record to date proves it.

  19. mike from linden says:

    how come red bulls havent used borman in the starting line-up since richards is injured?

    and to me pietravallo plays like seth stammler which is a ok thing

  20. Michael F. says:

    Thanks for report, Ives.

    Any word on why RB won’t go for Mathis?