Good morning Red Bulls fans. You don’t have an MLS game to look forward to this weekend but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some news to tide you over this morning. The Red Bulls are in Carolina to take on the RailHawks in their final pre-season tune-up before the April 5 opener against Columbus.
While you wait for tonight’s match to take place, and yes, it is being aired on www.USLlive.com tonight, here are some news, notes and observations on the Red Bulls.
Cepero going on loan
If you were wondering why the Red Bulls signed two goalkeepers to developmental contracts, wonder no more. Danny Cepero is set to leave the Red Bulls and go on loan to the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL second division. The Red Bulls feel Cepero has a bright future and wants him to get some games under his belt, which would have been difficult this year with Jon Conway and Zach Thornton in front of him.
The one drawback about the arrangement is the fact that the Red Bulls have to keep him signed to a developmental roster to keep the loan arrangement in tact, which means that is one less developmental slot the team has. Caleb Patterson-Sewell will serve as the club’s third-string goalkeeper.
Conde still isn’t happy in Chicago
Chicago Fire defender Wilman Conde has not given up on his desire to join Juan Carlos Osorio with the Red Bulls. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Luis Arroyave, Conde is nearing clubhouse cancer territory by continuing to make an issue of his trade demands.
When Conde first expressed his desire to leave Fire and join the Red Bulls it was unclear just what lengths he would go to in order to have his wish granted. Now it appears he is ready to continue letting his unhappy be known.
So why does the Fire seem intent on ignoring Conde’s request? According to sources in Chicago, it boils down to Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman making it clear that the team will not, under any circumstances, deal Conde to the Red Bulls.
Chicago is so intent on not letting a Conde-Osorio reunion happen that the Fire actually balked at a trade it was working on with another MLS team that would have sent Conde packing in exchange for an established striker. According to sources, Chicago feared that the Fire’s trade partner would then turn around and deal Conde to the Red Bulls so the trade fell apart.
On Tuesday, Osorio told SBI that since it has become clear that a trade for Conde isn’t going to happen, the Red Bulls have moved on to other options. Just what Conde will do when the Red Bulls sign another option remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t shock me if Conde never plays another game for the Fire.
Attacking midfielder not a priority
If you have noticed that Osorio has not said a thing about the club going after an attacking midfielder in the transfer market, it is because the club believes the combination of Claudio Reyna and Mike Magee can handle those duties, especially if the club fills its needs on the left wing and in defensive midfield.
"We believe they have done well in pre-season and if we can sign the players we are looking at, they will be in an even better position to succeed," Osorio said.
The logic boils down to Osorio believing that if he can secure a tough, ball-winning defensive midfielder who can pass well, score a few goals and provide an effective link between the defense and the attack to play alongside Seth Stammler and behind Reyna, that Reyna or Magee will have the freedom to create and distribute effectively.
Will the system work? Reyna and Magee have done well to deliver passes in the pre-season but have actually been victims of poor finishing from the team’s forwards, including Juan Pablo Angel.
Current and former Red Bulls/Metros lead Puerto Rico
Former MetroStar and USL Puerto Rico Islander midfielder Petter Villegas netted the game-winner to lift Puerto Rico to a World Cup qualifying victory against the Dominican Republic. Newly-signed Red Bulls forward Chris Megaloudis played 90 minutes for Puerto Rico.
If you’re asking yourself, "Hey, isn’t Villegas Ecuadorian?", you are right. Villegas was naturalized after playing for the Islanders.
Another one-time MetroStar, recent Toronto FC signing Marco Velez, also started for Puerto Rico.