2012 New York Red Bulls Preview

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by The Richuation, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

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    Goalkeepers

    Depth Chart: 1. Ryan Meara, 2. Jeremy Vuolo
    Strengths: Having lost Frank Rost during the offseason, the Red Bulls replaced last year’s starting goalkeeper with a pair of youngsters in Meara and Vuolo. Neither has been named the starter yet (though preseason friendlies indicate Meara is the favorite), but the Red Bulls have liked what they've seen from both.
    Weaknesses: Neither Meara or Vuolo have MLS experience and opposing teams will be champing at the bit to test them. Growing pains are to be expected, and an injury could leave the Red Bulls especially thin between the posts.
    Wildcard: Head coach Hans Backe and general manager Erik Solér have made no secret of being in the market for a third goalkeeper. They want someone who is more seasoned and have an eye on American Luis Robles from German second-division club Karlsruhe. Landing Robles or another experienced goalkeeper like him would help the Red Bulls address the position on their team with the most question marks.
    Defense

    Depth Chart: RB: 1. Jan Gunnar Solli, 2. Jonathan Borrajo; CB: 1. Wilman Conde – Markus Holgersson, 2. Stephen Keel, 3. Rafa Márquez; LB: 1. Roy Miller, Connor Lade
    Backe adds depth, aims for trophies in 2012

    Strengths: The starting back four all have decent to good size, so they should fare well against crosses and set pieces. Conde and Holgersson will also provide New York with another pair of targets on offensive free kicks and corner kicks.
    Weaknesses: Just how good the depth at fullback is remains fuzzy. The Red Bulls acquired New Jersey natives Lade and Borrajo this offseason, but neither has ever played in MLS before.
    Wildcard: How the partnership of Conde and Holgersson pans out could be a key factor in the success of the Red Bulls this season. The two center backs have never played together, so their chemistry will be a work in progress over the course of the year. Throw in this being Holgersson’s first MLS season and that Conde is still recovering from an ankle injury, and you can see why some fans are skeptical over the team’s projected starting tandem.
    Midfield

    Depth Chart: RM: 1. Dane Richards, 2. Dax McCarty; CM: 1. Rafa Márquez – Teemu Tainio, 3. Dax McCarty 4. Victor Palsson; LM: 1. Joel Lindpere, 2. Mehdi Ballouchy
    Strengths: Lindpere was arguably the team’s most consistent performer last year, and the Red Bulls rewarded the 30-year-old Estonian with a new multi-year contract in January. Lindpere, who scored seven goals and assisted on seven others in 2011, will be looking to prove he is worth every cent of that new deal while serving as one of the top offensive weapons for the club.
    Weaknesses: The Red Bulls may have talent at all four of their midfield spots, but they lack a true playmaker. Ballouchy, one of the most creative players on the team in practice, has been disappointingly inconsistent in the games that count. Expect big a midseason acquisition, and a period of adjustment as the team acclimates.
    Wildcard: After being heavily scrutinized in 2011, Márquez returns to New York projected to spend more of his time in central midfield. His skill and defensive grit add to an already-impressive midfield. He just needs to keep his temper and mouth in check in order to avoid ruffling any more feathers.
    Forwards

    Depth Chart: 1. Thierry Henry, 2. Luke Rodgers, 3. Juan Agudelo, 4. Kenny Cooper
    Strengths: Coming off a 14-goal season and a loan stint with Arsenal in which he demonstrated that he is still capable of competing with Europe's elite, Henry shows no signs of slowing down. He will continue to be the focal point of New York’s offense and is still someone opposing defenses will need to gameplan around.
    Weaknesses: The Red Bulls won just once without Rodgers in the lineup last year, and as of now, he's stuck in bureaucratic limbo trying to renew his visa. If he's back there's no reason to think he and Henry won't pick up where they left off last year, but the simple fact that it's an "if" has nerves fraying with less than two weeks before the season starts.
    Wildcard: Agudelo is one of the most talented youngsters in the league, but where exactly he fits on the Red Bulls remains unclear. His minutes dwindled drastically towards the end of last season and the addition of Cooper in the offseason could cut into Agudelo’s playing time.

    Setting the Scene

    Last year was supposed to be the year for the New York Red Bulls. Boasting a roster loaded with talented players like Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez, the Red Bulls had dreams of lifting the MLS Cup trophy for the first time in club history.
    WATCH: Hans Backe 1 on 1
    Unfortunately for them, what transpired was more nightmare than dream. The Red Bulls endured a frustrating 2011 season that had plenty of bumps both on and off the field. The team struggled to win games consistently, and the attitude in the locker room was so negative that head coach Hans Backe called it the messiest he had been involved with in his more than 30 years of coaching.
    Looking to put last year behind them, Backe and most of last year’s starters have returned. From Henry and Márquez to Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards, the Red Bulls still have the talent to be the top team in the Eastern Conference and a serious contender for the MLS Cup.
    In and Out

    IN: D Connor Lade (12/5: Home Grown); D Jonathan Borrajo (1/5: free/Hamarkameratene); D Markus Holgersson (1/12: free/Helsingborg); F Kenny Cooper (1/12: trade from Portland); G Ryan Meara (1/12: SuperDraft); D Mike Volk (1/17: supplemental draft); M Christian Barreiro (1/17: supplemental draft); M Nate Polak (1/17: supplemental draft); G Jeremy Vuolo (1/25: free/AC Oulu); D Wilman Conde (1/30: rights from Chicago); M Victor Pálsson (2/10: free)
    OUT: G Alex Horwath (11/23: waived); D Mychal Jones (11/23: waived); D Tyler Lassiter (11/23: waived); M Marcos Paullo (11/23: waived); M John Rooney (11/23: waived); D Teddy Schneider (11/23: waived); G Frank Rost (11/23: contract expired); D Carlos Mendes (Re-Entry Stage 1/Columbus); D Chris Albright (12/12: option declined); G Bouna Coundoul (12/12: option declined); D Tim Ream (1/26: transfer/Bolton Wanderers); D Sacir Hot (2/17: waived); M Matt Kassel (2/17: waived)
    Star Attraction: Thierry Henry

    Henry should be feeling good after a productive short-term loan with Arsenal, and that boost in confidence is likely to have Henry closer to top form when the season kicks off. As a Designated Player and the Red Bulls captain, Henry will need to shoulder much of the goal-scoring load while also helping the club repair a locker room that was in shambles in 2011.
    Unsung Hero: Joel Lindpere
    Lindpere (pictured right) is Mr. Consistent as far as the Red Bulls go. Last year he started in all 34 league games for the club, scored seven goals and added seven assists. All of those numbers were career bests in MLS for the crafty Estonian, and another season like that is expected, especially since he just signed a new contract that will keep him in New York for the foreseeable future.
    Ready for Primetime: Ryan Meara

    With the Red Bulls so far failing in their quest to land an experienced goalkeeper, Meara appears most likely to be the starter on opening day. The 21-year-old rookie is raw but talented, and the Red Bulls are surely hoping Meara can show maturity beyond his years, especially if they wish to compete with the Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference.
    Storylines to Watch

    1. How will the goalkeeper situation pan out? There are only two goalkeepers currently on the roster, and both are young and inexperienced. Unless they find a veteran, the Red Bulls will be gambling big by starting Meara or Vuolo. If the club can land a more seasoned player to start, New York will improve its most glaring weakness.
    2. Who will be the third DP? General manager Erik Solér recently said the club plans on adding a third designated player at some point this season. Who that will be is up for discussion, but another big-name signing to go along with Henry and Márquez would boost the club’s chances of lifting the MLS Cup.
    3. Can Juan Agudelo win more minutes under Backe? Agudelo was used sparingly at the end of last season, leaving many fans and pundits to wonder how Backe rates the young US men’s national team forward. Whether Agudelo wins back more minutes or not, this season should be telling in terms of his standing and future with the club.
    What He Said

    “We will have much better depth, there’s no question about it. We will have at least 18-20 good footballers. … I say we should try to go for it all: the Open Cup, the [Supporters’] Shield, the MLS Cup. We have a very good squad this year.”
    – New York head coach Hans Backe
    If Everything Goes Right

    Most of the starting team from last year has remained intact for the New York Red Bulls, and despite last year’s struggles, a run at a championship should not be ruled out. An ideal world would see Márquez on better behavior while smoothly transitioning into the midfield, the goalkeeper play being a nonfactor, a third DP coming in and shining and Henry continuing to light up the scoreboard en route to New York winning the Supporters’ Shield, US Open Cup and, most importantly, the MLS Cup.

     
  2. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

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  3. Randiesel75

    Randiesel75 Walk On

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    Good stuff, I was going to ask for input on this as the game defaults to 4-2-3-1 which I am not accustomed with. Even after the latest roster update it hasn't changed.

    Should I change to reflect the above? Any input is greatly appreciated.
     
  4. Randiesel75

    Randiesel75 Walk On

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    Should I be playing as 4-1-3-2 (default) ?

    I'm more of a 4-4-2 player, but not sure this squad is fitted for this, or anyhting else for that matter. I am open to suggestions.
     
  5. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

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    I would roll 433 with that crew
     
  6. Randiesel75

    Randiesel75 Walk On

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    Tough loss today on the season opener. They looked deadly in the final quarter once Cooper came on the pitch. I tried playing with Cooper, he's just a bit too slow in the game.
     

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