SBI MLS Team Previews: New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls - JPEG 

The New York Red Bulls have a lot of pressure heading into the 2010 season.

They have the pressure of playing well enough to fill their beautiful new stadium, as well as the pressure of erasing the bad memories of an awful 2009 season. A new coach and a new crop of players has enjoyed a good pre-season, giving the club some reason for optimism.

Hans Backe takes over as head coach and his vast experience in Europe is already showing signs of making a positive impact on a team in disarray last year. With upgrades at several position, the Red Bulls look poised to challenge for a playoff spot in the East.

Here is a look at the 2010 New York Red Bulls:


Players to Watch– Juan Pablo Angel, Mac Kandji, Jeremy Hall, Dane Richards, Mike Petke

Key Arrivals– Joel Lindpere, Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Tony Tchani, Carl Robinson

Key Departures– Albert Celades, Danny Cepero, Carlos Johnson, Jorge Rojas

Projected Lineup (New starters in bold)

——————-Juan Pablo Angel———Mac Kandji——————–

Sinisa Ubiparipovic——–Joel Lindpere—————Dane Richards

——————————–Carl Robinson——————————–

Roy Miller——–Tim Ream ————Mike Petke——–Jeremy Hall

——————————–Bouna Coundoul——————————

Biggest Question– Will Tony Tchani be an impact player in his rookie season? Tchani has bags of talent, but is still young and developing. The Red Bulls would love to have him develop into a lock starter because it could allow them to move Lindpere into a left wing role.

Left wing remains a wide open position. Sinisa Ubiparipovic isn't a natural left winger, but has been used there in pre-season. If Tchani is slow to develop, the Red Bulls could consider some help via trade.

The real 'Biggest Question' remains "Will the Red Bulls sign a marquee Designated Player this summer?" If they do, they immediately become a strong playoff contender. Without one, they are on the fringes of the playoff race.

X-Factor– Tim Ream. The rookie centerback has been the talk of the pre-season, and for good reason. He boasts good size, athleticism and most importantly, great feet. His passing out of the back, combined with his poise, making him an MLS rookie of the year candidate and lock starter heading into the season.

Outlook– Strong pre-seasons can often be fool's gold (as any Red Bulls fan can attest to after last year's pre-season) but there are signs that Hans Backe has implemented some effective changes and the club has brought in a good crop of newcomers to help.

Joel Lindpere, Roy Miller and Tim Ream look to be quality additions, but that may not be quite enough to qualify for the playoffs. A summer-time DP signing is needed for the Red Bulls to be a serious playoff threat, but the team's new stadium should give the club a home-field advantage they've never had before.

Without a second DP, the Red Bulls are likely to fall short in their race for the playoffs, but the addition of a second Designated Player could provide the missing ingredient to help the Red Bulls finish in the Top Eight.

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51 Responses to SBI MLS Team Previews: New York Red Bulls

  1. Richard, UK says:

    Even without the almost inevitable DP signing in the summer, this New York team (and management) looks fairly impressive. I think they’re at least a shoe-in for a play off spot (although I said that last year).

    I think along with Kansas City, they’ve both made major changes, but positive ones too. They’d both be my ‘wildcard’ picks to take the MLS Cup this year.

  2. BFBS says:

    Is Austin da Luz someone that could make an impact on the left this year, or has he not shown the readiness to contribute right away?

  3. Pappajohn says:

    What’s the word on the Red Bull signing Salou? I was mightily impressed watching his “field trial” against Santos. With his size and spunk, I could see him holding the ball and then passing to Angel. GOAL!

  4. older & wiser says:

    NYRB from least to beast in 2010!

  5. Josh D says:

    Forget the guy’s name who played up top with Kandji but any news on whether they’ll sign him? He seemed to posses some nice skill, worked his socks off and proved a problem for Santos’ defense.

    I think another question is what do NYRB have to do to continually fill their stadium? What is the outlook like? Can we see a sell-out every game? Can they build momentum?

    Great time to be a MLS supporter and it will surely go down as a year worth talking about 50 years from now!

  6. DC Josh says:

    If they play anything similar to Saturday they’ll go deep in the playoffs. Ream and Miller looked fantastic, lots of great long balls out of the back. His name escapes me at the moment, but the trialist who started up top along Kandji was phenomenal, aside from his harsh tackling (should have been sent off Saturday).

  7. REkro says:

    I don’t know about “shoe-in”, but the bulls will be way better than they were last year. I’m not sure it will be enough for a playoff spot though. I still think they lack depth, especially in the defensive end.

  8. Keith G. says:

    The Red Bulls are looking great, and if they are able to bring in Henry after the world cup, this team will deffently have what it takes to win it all. I still say the team should bring back van den Berg, because with him out on the left, this team could be right there with Houston with the tallent on the field.

  9. Paul says:

    Just compare the “Key Arrivals” and the “Key Departures.” Is there any doubt that this team will be much, much better? Moreover, the atmosphere is now totally professional, starting with the gleaming new facility and percolating through the entire organization. Soler and Backe are clearly in the same page, and have set a tone that will see the club through the inevitable rough spots.

  10. Pico says:

    Forget about Dave. It would be better to get a real attacking midfielder and move Lindpere out left instead. He is a younger version of Dave and so far has shown that he knows what to do with a ball.


  11. Pico says:

    I can remember vividly the comments on this blog when it was first reported that the team selected Backe as their head coach. So many people laughed at the selection and characterized it as a typical NYRB stupid move. Well, it seems to me that Soler and Hans have a plan in mind and are taking the necessary steps to make it happen.

    Soler himself has mentioned that he would like to make the playoffs this year, which would be a great accomplishment considering the horrendous performance last year. I think he has greater plans for 2011.


  12. afrim says:

    Seriously Ives..other teams in MLS are not that much better off. If anything right now this year is more of a crap shoot than any other year in determining who goes deep in the playoffs.

    (SBI- So what’s your point exactly? That we shouldn’t bother with previews or predictions? Hey, NY could win MLS Cup, as could almost any team in MLS, but we’re offering our takes on the teams heading into the season. Feel free to agree or disagree, but there’s nothing wrong with opinions.)

  13. Isaac says:

    I second that; from what I saw, he has the creativity, skill, soccer IQ and attacking prowess to fit the more attacking style that Hans Backe wanted.

  14. tbecker says:

    anything new on agudelo?

  15. Czar says:

    Petke over Goldthwaite?

  16. Charles says:

    I hope SBI is going to do this for all the teams.

    I can’t get enough…..4 days….actually only about 80 hours.

  17. John McGarry says:

    Will they sign the kid that was from he academy? Will thy sign him or will he go to colombia to play?

  18. jpc says:


    I thought “Key Departure” were supposed to be departures that would hurt the team.

    (SBI-Not necessarily, it’s basically the four or five biggest names to leave.)

  19. Nutmegger says:


  20. John.q says:

    The future is looking good so far. Not sure if the stadium will fill up every game but attendence should be good. I already plan on going to many more games and will drag some friends along with me. Some office mates who live in Jerz are going to games too despite not knowing anything about soccer.
    The team itself is looking much better. Hopefully they sign that Salou guy. He looked good up top. Maybe move Kanji to the left wing?

  21. Erik V says:

    Even though they had a near perfect pre-season its still is hard to predict what kind of season RBNY will have. To me their opening game almost feels like a final. They need to win that game to continue the positive vibe around the team that hopefully translates into more fans in the stands which in turn results in a bigger home field advantage. The next final is their first away game. The pressure will be on NY to make their fans forget about last seasons game against Seattle. They do not have to win that game but they do need to show they are capable to put up a descent fight on the road. So if by the time RBNY plays their second home game against Dallas RBNY has 6 points New York might be the revelation of the season if there are no points its could mean yet another ugly season for RBNY.
    But the fact that there is actually a positive mood in New York is already pretty amazing considering what happened last year.

  22. K-Town says:

    Getting that dead weight to “Depart” definitely qualifies as “KEY” in the NYRB improving.

  23. Erik V says:

    afrim, I actually think this might become the strongest year yet for MLS. Columbus looked realy good in their Concacaf games and Chicago and KC seemed to have made some good improvements as well. Not to mention Seattle signing n’kufo (not sure how to spell his last name) and Chivas and Houston staying strong despite loosing some key players. I might be one of the few but I am actually excited about the MLS as a whole this season…

  24. scott47a says:

    Lindpere looks like the real deal to me. Decent shot and tough in the tackle. He seems a good fit for MLS. Robinson and Miller are improvements.

    Not sold on Bouna — ask a Rapids fan — nor on Petke and Hall on the back right. And I don’t think Sinisa or Kandji have proven they deserve to be MLS starters week in and week out.

    Better than last year? Clearly. Title threat? Seems like a couple holes to fill from this outsider’s perspective.

  25. EA says:

    I feel you.

    I’m going to miss the opener on TV, though.

    The silver lining to that dark cloud is that I’ll be on a plane to NYC for a 3-day weekend that includes the Red Bulls/Fire game.


  26. Joamiq says:

    Did we not see Kandji fail on the wing enough times to know for certain that he’s terrible there?

  27. RLW2020 says:

    and if I am not mistaken da Luz could be that wing player that fits into their attack. add him to a lineup that includes Agudelo, Tchani and Salou and I see a playoff team. If these players play to their potential i don’t see the need for a DP.

  28. Modibo says:

    I can’t believe no one else has commented on Condoul yet. His decision-making is very questionable at times. I hope they’re getting strong leadership in their backline, because I never got the sense that Condoul was playing that role either.

  29. VictorM says:

    I would like to see the ball possession that we saw against Santos repeat itself against MLS teams, but MLS teams aren’t going to give the Red Bulls that type of space and soft tackling. We still need a true attacking midfield with the ball skills and vision to hurt other teams with killer passes and help teammates with ball possession. Instead of referring to the need for a DP, I’d say we need a field general, whether he comes in as a DP or not. Now, if in addition to getting a creative midfielder we also get a marquee name, that would be wonderful.

  30. Metro-211-7 says:

    Riquelme would have filled those shoes !!!

  31. Mark says:

    Sinisa looked good against Santos, but I still think our strongest option might be Hall at LM and Sassano at RB, or Hall at RB and da Luz at LM. What I’d like to see on Saturday (if everyone is healthy):


  32. ernj says:

    Agree on Coundoul. I think management is looking overseas for a better solution between the posts but just hasn’t found it yet. I also question Kanjii up top. Kid is raw talent, but seems to be made of glass. I keep thinking that Petke has lost a step or two, but he was absolutely solid on Saturday and has looked good in general.

    I thought Salou looked very good up top. Big body made him look like a classic target striker, though I didn’t see him use his head very much.

  33. CA says:

    Ive seen many comments here and elsewhere to the affect, “we may not fill up the stadium every game…..etc.” Why, in a city the size of NY, with the international diversity of its population, is it so hard to fill a 25k seat soccer stadium?

  34. Pico says:

    Or Andres D’Alessandro who plays for Internacional in Brazil. Left footed, and we know how much Backe likes those players

  35. Pico says:

    Because the product on the field stinks? If you consider most immigrants’ soccer reference, RBNY has not met the criteria.

    Hopefully the tema can change that this year.


  36. CA says:

    “Because the product on the field stinks?”

    Possibly, but Toronto has not been any better than NYRB’s as of late. I’m just wondering if the marketing has been terrible, or if there are other factors I-a west coaster-am not aware of. It just seems like NY metro area soccer fans should be coming out in bigger numbers.

  37. gerald says:

    Winning helps as it can create a buzz about the team along with a shiny new stadium. there are some people who wouldn’t go in the past who are willing to go now. You think the Yankees draw 4 million every year?? They wanted to move the Yankees out of NY about 20 years ago because they were not pulling crowds

  38. Mark says:

    Attendance will increase this year simply because the public transportation options are abundant, where as they might as well have been non-existent in Giants Stadium.

    My son and I jumped on the train, then took the PATH train over the river to the stadium. It was fast and easy. That alone will boost attendance.

    As for the team, I’ve rarely seen a Red Bull team look that composed. Having finally seen them with on own two eyes, I really feel good about the season. The fact that they played so well without their best player spoke volumes about how different this version of the team is from the past.

  39. Ceez says:

    Also, our RBNY is MUCH MUCH younger!! Tchani, Da Luz, Agudelo (if we sign him…PLEASE DO!!!), Ream, Lindpere (only 28), Kandji, Hall, and Ghirghadze (if he sees time). What did we have last year? Rojas, Celades…

    Ok fine. Those are only 2 players but they played in the most important part of the field…the midfield.

  40. einar says:

    if they want to make it to the playoffs. they have to sign the 2 trialists that played saturday. or else 0 chance

  41. Steve T. says:

    I disagree. Bouna has been money for the RBNY. Some of the saves he makes leave have me jumping out of my seat in amazement. Watch a replay of the TFC game last year. The guy stood on his head. Time will tell, but he’s been fantastic for us.

    Granted we had conway and cepero to compare against.

  42. VictorM says:

    Sometimes a new team uses the years ahead to build a following (Toronto) while an older team spend 15 years pissing off and turning off many of their supporters (NY). And once the stigma sets in that “they’re losers,” it’s hard to bounce back. That’s where we are in the NY area. And if Toronto doesn’t improve, in 10 years you may be asking why a team in a big city like Toronto can’t draw well. Notice that the Metrostars drew an average of 23,000+ in their first year.

    Plus, we still have a lot of soccer people decrying that “they’re not the Cosmos.”

  43. gerald says:

    There was little too no marketing the past few years. This year there has been alot of marketing in the NYC and along the train stations in Northern New Jersey

  44. Elmer says:

    Why does FSC and Fox Soccer Plus say HD when the matches are in standard def? Ridiculous!

  45. Roland says:

    Salou to Striker and Kandji to Left Wind. Sinisa doesn’t have enough offensive presence. He holds up the attack too much.

  46. gigi says:

    I think this team could still be a great playoff contender without a DP if angel can stay healthy, i like what our forward line has to offer, each one brings something different angel finnishing heading ablities, Salou (if signed) strong good holder on the ball, kandji good speed and technical ability, wolyneic tough and good work ethic, agudelo(if signed) young, great technical ability confident yet willing to learn.

    as for the midfield ubi did great at left mid vs santos, but im still one of those praying for a van den bergh return. As for lindepere hes doing good but Rojas did good in exbition games too, i like what ive seen from lindpere but hes still an x factor. But backe deff wipped these guys into shape, this team could be one of the most fit teams in mls right now.

    But what i think is really going to surprise ppl this year is the backline, my prediction is there going to be much MUCH more organized then last season.

    I remember osorio saying that if anyone could figure out why the team kept giving up goals in the begining and end of each half, i think mr. Backe is gonna be knocking on his door come end of the season to collect that cash money.

  47. Allegre says:

    Some rumors that Oebster is leaving…….making room for Salou?

  48. gigi says:

    I remember osorio saying that if anyone could figure out why the team kept giving up coals in begning and end of each half he would give them a million dollers*

  49. Scott A says:

    Really like the Ream kid. Not putting too much pressure on him though, we’ve gotta be patient

  50. Ken says:

    As a longtime supporter of NY I really love our new team. I love Salou he played great up front, has speed, and is exactly what they need with Kandji and Angel. Can keep slow moving no skill WOly on bench.

    Sign Salou! I like Miller, Ream, Hall, and Petke. To the writer up top please do not COMPARE Hall to Sassano, Hall is ten time better all around. Sassano sucks, is slow, and never marks anyone. He is a ten minute player at best. Midfield like Lindpere looks like he is going to be a very good player. Also like Richards and Robinson. Not sold on Sinsa who lacks stamina and gives the ball away alot. Our forwards if healthy are great with Angel, Salou, and Kandji. For the money I like our goalie and think he makes great saves. I think our backup Sutton is shaky.

    Lets go with new guys as well. Like Ream. Lets forget the past with slow WOly who sucks and Sassano who is slow and everytime he is in the other team scores because he is lost out there. Look how well we played the first half without them. We need speed and

    skillfull players.

    Go NEW YORK! Hoping for a great season.

  51. Smith says:

    Toronto has only been around 4 years. When they are cr-p for 14 years, they won’t draw either.