Thursday, July 7, 2011

The New York Red Bulls have loads of Potential

Joel Lindpere is in form. 
With the 5-0 win over Toronto FC, the New York Red Bulls reaffirmed the belief that they have the potential to be an MLS Superclub. In recent weeks, MLS fans have seen New York drop points in draws that they should have won.

The Red Bulls have encountered many speed bumps this season, the most recent of which were the losses of personnel to the Gold Cup. During the Gold Cup stretch, Tim Ream, Rafa Marquez, Dane Richards and Juan Agudelo were all away from the team. Couple that with Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers battling injuries and anyone could make a serious case for the Red Bulls being severely depleted.

Now though, with the exception of Marquez, the Red Bulls are near full strength. They’ve shown themselves to be extremely powerful in offense and most recently proved it with a home dismantling of Toronto.

Some questioned the wisdom of trading Dwayne De Rosario away for Dax McCarty, but the trade has the potential to benefit all involved. Dax McCarty has looked very solid in his brief time with the Red Bulls, contributing well to the team. He seems to mix well with his teammates. Furthermore the team boasts midfield quality players such as Joel Lindpere, Teemu Tainio and Jan Gunnar Solli. On paper, New York is the most offensively powerful team in the league.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Offense though is not in question, nor should it be. What is holding the Red Bulls back from Superclub status is the question of defense. The last line of defense and first of offense is where the Red Bulls are suffering most: goalkeeper. Greg Sutton and Bouna Coundoul have both been in a heated battle for the starting spot. Unfortunately though, the battle hasn’t been one of elite play and superior saves, it has been one of who makes less mistakes.

Both goalkeepers have had their tenures marred by blunders that have cost the team points. Hans Backe has seemingly decided to go with Greg Sutton. Sutton rewarded that faith with a shutout against Toronto and will have to continue rewarding that faith… we have it on good account that the Red Bulls are looking to purchase a goalkeeper at the next available opportunity. It’s also likely that they’ll be willing to spend decent money on one with the freed up cap space from the De Rosario trade.

Luke Rodgers, scoring when healthy.
If New York is to achieve Superclub status they’ll have to solve those nagging lapses on defense and ensure health of their considerable attacking prowess. One wonders though, that if marketing is in the way. The Red Bulls are flying to Europe soon to participate in a tournament with world powers… a tournament which means absolutely nothing to MLS or MLS Cup hopes.

Reactions to this are mixed, and potential benefits are high. Still, none of this deters the point that New York has the remarkable potential to become to most powerful team in MLS history. Whether or not they can do that though, is up to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment