Crisis?Â What crisis?Â The Red Bulls are world-beaters.Â We're gonna win MLS Cup!Â No one
can stop us!Â ...At least that's what the highly emotional RBNY fan base seems to be telling me.Â
After an 0-2 start, we needed to blow the team up and fire Backe, now it seems all is well in the
land of the energy drink.
Looks like Mr. Backe has some decisions to make come opening day in Dallas.Â With a surplus of
forwards and central midfielders, it'll be interesting to see what formation and personnel makeup
the starting XI.Â With so many options and possible configurations at his disposal, how will Backe
manage his depth?
Soler Swag for days
After what can only be described as a highly disappointing season in 2011, the Red Bulls, and
more importantly their front office, certainly had their work cut out for them.Â A roster filled
with so much talent but woefully underachieved had to be revamped somehow.Â And it was Erik
Soler's job to fit together the right pieces to assert New York as a top team once again.
Man, where do I even start?Â First, let me apologize for such a long hiatus.Â These past few
months have been pretty crazy for me for a number of reasons, but I'm back now.Â If there's anyone
out there that actually still reads this blog, thank you for your patience.Â This hasn't been a
fun time for me, but things are starting to look up.
I have to admit; I've pronounced the season to be dead more than once before.Â But you gotta
cut me some slack, I wasn't counting on the absolute ineptitude of the rest of the Eastern
Conference.Â Thanks to their shortcomings, the Red Bulls found themselves clinging to the tenth
and final playoff spot after a draw away to Toronto.
Well, here I am, once again reeling from another disappointment, trying to figure out just how
to sum up yet the latest uninspired performance by New York.Â I swear, with all the talk of how
great this team is better on paper, I propose we so all go out and cover RBA in 8 Â˝ x 11's on
Just when you thought all hope was lost, New York goes out and does this.Â A win, honest to
God, a win.Â For the first time since the July 6th drubbing of TFC, the Red Bulls claimed all
three points and boy did it feel good.Â Granted, it got a bit nervy there and it wasn't the pretty
display by any stretch of the imagination, but isn't that what it's all about?
Man, the past week or so has been quite kind to the Red Bulls. Â After Irene washed away any
hopes of the Galaxy match being played, New York saw their playoff position actually improve
despite not playing a single match since August 20th. Â As of now, New York owns the 10th and final
playoff spot, sitting behind Columbus, SKC, Houston, and Philly in the East.
Do I even need to bother recapping this game?Â You might as well just read my last post.Â It
meets all the requirements: disappointment, 2-2 draw, second half comeback, Ballouchy being
useless... you know, the usual.Â Just when you think they can't draw against a crappier team, they
do.Â The Revs, proud owners of the most anemic offense in the league, still managed to take a 2-0
lead against New York and it took a 87th minute equalizer to walk away with a point.
Another week, another disappointing performance for RBNY.Â Par for the course, I would say (No
Backe reference intended).Â With the lowly Fire in town, you'd probably expect a win in front of
the sell out crowd at RBA... who am I kidding, we were all pretty much expecting the worst the way
things have been going lately.
That's right, folks; to go along with the laundry list of accomplishments the Metro Bulls have
attained in their illustrious history, you can add 2011 Emirates Cup Champions to it.Â Now while
it's no La Manga, it ranks right up there with the Mickey Mouse Cup of 2010.Â Hey, this is about
the only Red Bulls news I can get excited about nowadays, so get off my back.
Wow, well hopefully you haven't been using the Offside as your sole source for MLS news (as I
know many of you do), because I haven't been very diligent in updating you on all things Red Bull
New York.Â With the Bulls facing some adversity (understatement of the year?), the front office
has taken action and enlisted the help of German backstop Frank Rost.
Coming off the heels of a rather unconvincing (but welcomed) win against New England, the Red
Bulls are off to embark on their longest trip away from the friendly confines of Harrison.Â First
up, the rowdy crowd at JELD-WEN Field, home of the Timbers.
Thanks to an own goal and some inspiring football from Thierry Henry, New York
finally snapped their winless streak and finally took home the full three points.
Can Backe right the ship?
The three-game winning streak of last month seems so distant now, doesn't it?Â For that matter,
so does my last blog post, but that's neither here nor there (but apologies, nonetheless).Â The
Red Bulls now find themselves in a precarious situation.Â They are no longer getting the results
that seemed to come so easily earlier in the season, and the defense has been suspect to say the
I've been trying to get an interview with some of the players for quite some time now, but until
now I didn't have any luck. Â Being a different state will do that. Â Fortunately, I was able to
get in contact with rookie midfielder Matt Kassel, who was nice enough to answer
some of my questions.
Apparently, it can buy you damn entertaining 90 minutes of soccer, though.Â Throughout the
week, everyone in MLS was hyping this game to be the greatest game of the year, and while hype is
usually unsubstantiated, this game lived up to all the buzz surrounding the league's two marquee
Luke's aeroplane celebration... yea or nay?
Take a deep breath folks; the Red Bulls took home all three points tonight... but just barely.Â
In a win that was very much different from the two matches that preceded it, New York played an
incredibly strong first half that saw Luke Rodgers get on the board once
Be honest, how many of you were expecting a JPA jump-slash?
Seriously, is there anything better than going into D.C. and stomping them out?Â I think not.Â
If last week's performance against the Quakes was impressive, than we need to find a new word to
describe the show that New York put on in RFK.
I got a feeling this is what everyone envisioned would happen when this team was assembled.Â
That game exemplified just how good New York can be as they dominated in all facets of the game.Â
Oh, and Thierry Henry finally got on the scoreboard.Â A sign of things to come?Â
One can only hope.
That can go plenty of ways now, can't it?Â I'm sure many of you have some choice words for
Mr. Henry (I'll let you connect the dots) and some probably have a big question on
your mind (again, use your imagination), but I have just three words for the entire Red Bull
New York heads down I-95 to PPL Park to take on the (shockingly) first-place Union tomorrow.Â
Most teams heading on the road will usually be looking to take a point, let alone when facing a
team that's at the top of the conference.Â But the Red Bulls aren't most teams.Â With the amount
of talent on this team, and against a bitter rival, you'd be believe New York will be looking to
send a message to the Union, and the rest of the league for that matter, by taking all three points
After all the trade-hype eventually died down, it was time for the Red Bulls to take the field.Â
With Dwayne De Rosario in tow, New York was looking to get off on the right
foot.Â But the Dynamo proved that there is plenty of work still to be done during the long season
that lies ahead.
Remember when I said that it was MLS Cup or bust for New York this year?Â Well
folks, that sentiment should be felt now more than ever.Â Erik Soler made a huge splash this
afternoon in anticipation to their clash with Houston by trading away Tony Tchani,
Danleigh Borman, and a first round draft pick in 2012 for five-time MLS Best XI
midfielder Dwayne De Rosario.
After it was announced that five starters from their first game against Seattle would missing on
their trip to Columbus, Hans Backe was forced to put together a makeshift lineup that would
severely test New York's depth.Â Even with all these changes, the Red Bulls still managed to get a
result in enemy territory, a sign that perhaps this team has what it takes to be championship
There was a bit of an uneasy feeling that the Red Bulls would fail to get another quality
scoring chance after Thierry Henry squandered a PK chance to put New York up front
early on, but rookie sensation Juan Agudelo would have none of it.
After a seemingly endless offseason, the 2011 season got underway with a 1-0 win in favor of the
home team, but not without all the drama that usually surrounds a Red Bulls fixture.
Can TH14 be the player Red Bull paid for?
That's the label that's pretty much been put on this Red Bulls team by fans and "experts" alike
(please note the quotes).Â With all the expectations that come with having two world-class DPs
along with the addition of quality European talent, New York has no other option but to go all the
Dane's been the man of the moment this preseason.
The hectic preseason continued for New York as they wrapped up their final trip in Arizona this
week.Â The only thing is, did this long preseason leave us with more questions than answers?
Last time we spoke, the Red Bulls just finished up winning against Ft.
Breaking up the Baby Bulls
Since when was MLS preseason supposed to be this interesting/frantic?Â Between trips to Mexico
and Florida (and Arizona coming up), cuts, signings, trialists, more preseason matches than one
could handle, and the recent slew of injuries, the Red Bulls have had plenty on their plate.
Last Saturday, D.C. United gutted out a 2-0 at San Jose. Dwayne De Rosario's two second half
goals gave D.C. a lead in a frustrating game for both teams. It was only after Andy Najar was sent
off for a professional foul that San Jose seized the initiative, but a committed rear-guard
performance saw D.
- Dwayne De Rosario is the best kind of All-star, the inactive kind. He'll be
recognized as one of the league's top performers, get a nice little bonus, but won't have to miss
any D.C. practices to go play an exhibition game. Which is certainly a good thing as he has only
been with his current teammates for about a month now.
I'm changing Twitter handles. @OffsideNYRB is now @EricRBNY. I'm making my Empire of Soccer
debut today, where I'll be giving my take in a once-a-week opinion section. Go check out my first
Haters gon' hate
Ah, the smell of a new MLS season.Â A year to forget about past disappointments; a time when
hope springs eternal.Â Unfortunately for our beloved boys in white (and sometimes blue), it was
much of the same.Â Poor set piece defense, possession not yielding W's, lack of attacking spark,
blah blah blah.