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Juan Carlos Osorio has long been known as a coach who is always looking for good left-footed players, whether to play in defense or on the left flank, but the New York Red Bulls coach is opening up to the possibility of playing a right-footed player on the left flank, where Dave Van Den Bergh roamed in 2008.
So why the shift in philosophy? It has to do with the collection of speed merchants he has compiled on the Red Bulls, a group that includes Dane Richards, Matt Mbuta, Mac Kandji and Dominic Oduro.
"If you have the speed to get in behind the defense, or cut inside and go at defenders, then that creates more problems for a defense," Osorio said. "I am open to the possibility of using a right-footed player on the left if that player can provide those sort of things because what matters is creating chances and being dangerous in the attack."
Kandji, Oduro and Richards have all been spotted playing on the left wing during the team's early pre-season training sessions. Richards is no stranger to the position, having been deployed their on multiple occasions with the Jamaican national team.
Here are some more observation's from the team's training session on Thursday:
First-round draft pick Jeremy Hall has spent a lot of time this pre-season playing in central midfield. Look for Osorio to use him there, where Hall's athleticism, skill and work rate could translate into a box-to-box midfielder with the ability to score some goals.
David Roth has looked sharp in pre-season and was among the players being tried out at a different position. On Thursday he was deployed at left back, where his speed and left foot could help him play there, although he definitely didn't look comfortable there.
When asked about rookie Babajide Ogunbiyi, who is missing training camp to finish school at Santa Clara, Osorio admitted to not having spoken to him yet but stated that Red Bulls technical director Jeff Agoos has been on constant communication with Ogunbiyi.
Kevin Goldthwaite has been used almost exclusively in central defense and figures to stay there as the Red Bulls close in on an international left back. Scott Palguta has been used almost exclusively as a central defender but can be an option as a left back in both a three-man and four-man defense, although he might lack the speed to play left back in a four-man back-line.
Rookie Nick Zimmerman continues to impress as a right back candidate. He has good size, isn't afraid to make tough tackles and has the attacking quality from being a converted winger that Osorio wants from his fullbacks.
Undrafted free agent Jerry Saintil looked much better on Thursday than he did on Tuesday, showing good strength and speed and a sharp left foot that hit a few very good long passes. He is still a long-shot to make the team, as are most of the free agents trying out, but does look impressive.
Jon Conway has yet to speak with the media during training camp about his suspension but did tell media members on Thursday that he plans to address the situation soon.
That is all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on the Red Bulls in the comments section below.