BY DAVE MARTINEZ
Early reports last week had already revealed some changes on the way for the New York Red Bulls, who were going to part ways with veterans Teemu Tainio, Jan Gunnar Solli, Bill Gaudette and newcomer Jose Angulo.
You can now add six more names to that list.
Stephen Keel, Corey Hertzog, Jeremy Vuolo, Tyler Ruthven, Jhonny Arteaga and Jonathan Borrajo become the latest casualties in the Red Bulls offseason exodus. The roster cuts would not only serve to clear way for New York’s new coach to remodel the side in his image, but give the financial backing needed to do so. Though not all the moves can be considered a cost savings, they total and impressive clearance of $821,255 under the restrictive $2.81 million MLS salary cap
Keel, 29, is perhaps the most surprising of this latest round of cuts. The physical defender was a core asset in Hans Backe’s “cynical soccer” approach during the 2011 playoff run. His antics behind the “Keel Cam” web series cemented his place as a fan favorite. This year, he was limited to five starts in nine appearances with the club.
Corey Hertzog, 22, never really made his mark in New York’s ever-crowded stable of forwards. Known for his relentless work rate in practice, he was able to shine in extended minutes when the Red Bulls loaned him to the Wilmington Hammerheads. However, he couldn’t find minutes on his return to the team.
Tyler Ruthven, 24, filled in admirably during an injury ridden May helping in part to solidify a weakened Red Bulls backline en route to tying a franchise best record five game winning streak. Jhonny Arteaga, 25, failed to capture the magic that made him the top USL Pro goal scorer for 2011 in limited U.S. Open Cup minutes. Red Bull Academy product Jonathan Borrajo, 25, and Jeremy Vuolo, 25, barely made a dent in New York this season.
The Red Bulls have left the door open for younger players to participate in try-outs come January once new management is in place, but have encouraged all involved to seek other options. Don’t expect the veterans to get the same treatment.
There are very few surprises in this first official round of cuts, but there will be more to come. Who’s next? Share your thoughts below.