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More from Red Bulls training camp

Practice is over for the Red Bulls and coach Juan Carlos Osorio (as well as captain Claudio Reyna) shared quite a bit of insight into the team and what he (they) have seen so far in preseason.

Here is a rundown of some of the tidbits:

Dave Van Den Bergh will see time in central midfield in Saturday’s exhibition. Osorio sees Van Den Bergh’s passing skills benefiting the team in the middle of the field. That said, Van Den Bergh still isn’t guaranteed to be on the team when the season starts (Osorio didn’t say that but the writing is on the wall.)

Osorio sees Mike Magee as a player who could fill that attacking midfielder role behind the forwards in the 3-4-1-2 the team has used in pre-season. Osorio and Claudio Reyna singled out Magee for praise, stating that he has looked sharp in pre-season.

Osorio does believe Claudio Reyna can perform well in the slot behind the forwards, but did say that he is on the hunt for an attacking midfielder who will play that role, which would allow Reyna to play deeper. Osorio also made a point to state that Reyna has been unfairly criticized for what he brings to the team and he feels Reyna can have a major impact in 2008.

two young players who are drawing considerable praise are rookies Danleigh Borman and Luke Sassano. Borman could see considerable minutes on the left flank, while Sassano is being pegged as someone who could start matches in defensive midfield. In other words, folks wondering how the club could get rid of Dema Kovalenko should know that Sassano has been impressive in camp, giving the team Stammler, Reyna and Sassano as quality options.

Free agent Scott Palguta also drew praise from Reyna for being an effective left-footed defender who could be competing for playing time at left back.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Osorio said was that he team’s defenders are a stronger group than he expected it to be and he feels the team’s returning defenders can play much better than they did in 2007. Osorio made a point to say that he wasn’t criticize the team’s previous coach (Bruce Arena) but the sense I get is that Osorio is baffled at how a group including Carlos Mendes, Jeff Parke, Hunter Freeman, Kevin Goldthwaite and Chris Leitch struggled as much as it did last season. I have always thought that Jeff Parke and Carlos Mendes are better than they get credit for. Both could thrive under Osorio.

The New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg WILL play a scrimmage match on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately for SBI readers, I’m due to return to the United States that morning. There is still an outside chance the match is played on Wednesday. Here’s hoping it is changed.

That’s all for now. I will try to post some more on today’s practice developments but I need to get settled and need to get the internet situation at my hotel sorted out.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available, and definitely tune in on Saturday morning for my running commentary from the New York Red Bulls’ exhibition match against the Red Bulls Salzburg reserves.

Share your thoughts on any of the above developments below.


  1. Aristotle – Nothing makes me happier than to see Richards progressing. I posted what I thought the JCO formation would look like, not what I hoped for. Also glad to see Mendes (Bradley’s best cheap pick up) & Parke playing well.

    I’m intrigued by this Paraguayan guy.

    I really do think that the guys who were here last year will show improvement under JCO. Arena seemed to lose interest as well as the clubhouse in mid-year & things went adrift.


  2. Wsmith: (aka Smith, aka Plato)

    I couldn’t resist cutting and pasting this part of a report by Ives about how the team is progressing in the pre-season. It follows:

    Jesus Mendoza- A thoroughly unremarkable performance from the Mexican trialist. He didn’t see much of the ball and when he did get the ball he didn’t do much with it. Based on what I have heard, and now have seen, I think it’s safe to say he is NOT the answer on the left wing.

    Eric Brunner- The rookie showed some good signs, but also showed signs of being inexperienced. Wasn’t overly vocal or much of an organizer from his center back role but he did hold his own on a couple of battles with Angel. His passing leaves a bit to be desired but the tools are there for him to develop into a good player.

    Dane Richards- The kid still has it. I think Richards worked on his crossing in the off-season because his crosses were sharper than I remember them being. He still has the speed and is dangerous, but rookie Danleigh Borman gave him all he could handle.

    Now let’s link this with what you said about the team being an improvement after all of the lost players. You said:



    Brunner Parke Mendes

    Stammler Reyna

    Freeman Jesus

    Soon to be signed A-mid

    JPA Jozy

    Is that team better than last year?

    I think so.


    Your prediction doesn’t seem to be looking so good.

    However, since I once said this:

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    I will give your thought further consideration!

  3. Aristotle, my friend –

    I think the team is better defensively, if only due to the formation & the roles afforded Stammler & Freeman. I think we will be better offensively provided an A-mid is found. Richards will sit due to his lack of defensive prowess. I like him, but JCO will sit him.

    Again, let’s see who signs. In the end you may be right. I’m just saying that you need to clear cap space to sign players in MLS. JCO has dome jsut that. Let’s see who we sign.

    I will now go have tea & discuss the Baroque period of art.

    Your friend, Plato

  4. Smith:

    One would never have guessed that you were so refined and sensitive from your first post that was dismissive to say the least, but I’ll try if you’ll try!

    You really think that team you posted is a big improvement over last year?

    The defense and GK is the same except your throwing a draft pick with no experience into the lineup before he has even proven himself, and playing with three in the back? Ay caramba!

    The offense is the same.

    That leaves the midfield where you have inserted Hunter Freeman, benched Richards, (or do you think JCO is going to trade his (untouchable”?)inserted Jesus and a player who isn’t signed yet. That’s the improvement? Freeman will replace Vide and Jesus replaces Mathis, and then a fifth unknown guy is added? To say this isn’t a very convincing argument is an understatement, but let’s see what JCO does. That unknown player is going to need to be really good.

    Your friend,


  5. Point on Mathis well taken. I should have said that Mathis rarely started in the 2nd half of the year. Certainly, didn’t do much after the Beckham game.

    I’ll forgive you your poor manners & vulgar language this time as a fellow supporter. Do try to be somewhat polite in the future, okay?

    I like Vide, but we were gonna lose someone in the expansion draft & that was that. He played okay, but let’s face it, he’s not a great player. He is what he is & he is mediocre. The kid plays hard, but he’s MLS-average at best.

    Dema is average too. He was paid well above average, however. Those are the guys that get moved in MLS. In a cap-free world, I’d keep Dema. He plays hard. However, MLS isn’t a cap free world (unless you’re L.A., of course)

    Now, with the money being saved, let’s see who comes in. If Etch works out as the back up forward & Jesus (the soccer player, not the religious icon) works out on the left side, all good. We still have money for an A-mid & a left footed defender.

    Yes, I’m concerned about money, In a league with a salary cap, you should be. Moving out dead weight like Quaranta & Co. creates space. Let’s see how JCO uses that money before we slam him.

    For 12 years, I’ve heard fans complain that we (a) draft poorly (b) don’t scout local talent (c) jump the gun signing “saviors” as opposed to Internationals whomay actually help the team.

    Let’ see how JCO’s draft picks work out, let’s see how the two locals who made the trip to Austria work out & let’s see who gets signed.

    Then, if we aren’t any good, go ahead tear JCO a new one. Just wait & see where we are before you jump the gun.

    Relax, it’s not like he did something stupid like trade Brad Davis for a draft pick that becomes Mike Magee or he signed SGR.

    As for what I expect the line-up to look like on April 5th:


    Brunner Parke Mendes

    Stammler Reyna

    Freeman Jesus

    Soon to be signed A-mid

    JPA Jozy

    Is that team better than last year?

    I think so. You think not. Let’s see when they start playing. However, at least give JCO a chance to put his team together & let them play a bit before you slam him.

    Your friend,


  6. Smith:

    On Clint Mathis

    You said: “rarely played”

    The facts when not talking out of your as*:

    Played in 26 games out of 30. Started 19. Only four players on entire roster played in more games. Third on team in goals.

    Getting rid of him is addition?

    Joe Vide is 23 and barely out of college. He was offered a contract by 1860 Munich before he finished college. He broke into the lineup for NYRB last year and played the second half of the season as good as Reyna, the million dollar man, (I know your very concerned with money) but your ruling him out already as never being anything more than a mediocre midfielder?

    Dema Kovalenko is also mediocre and replacing him with nothing has helped the team?

    Other than the front line and Dane Richards, what must you think of the team that is left?

  7. Let’s look at the “Out” List:

    Clint Mathis – rarely played. Didn’t contribute much after mid-season. Leaving frees $100K cap space.

    Joe Vide – Hard working, mediocre player.

    Blake Camp – No first team action

    Ronald Waterreus – Lost starting job to Conway. Moving on saves us $200K cap space

    Markus Schopp – Did nothing. Moving on saves $200K+ cap space

    Santino Quaranta – Did nothing. Moving on saves us $105K cap space.

    Sal Caccavale – USL level player

    Randi Patterson – No first team action

    Chris Karcz – No first team action

    Elie Ikangu – 1 minute of 1st team action

    Francis Doe – Dribble, Dribble. lose ball. High end USL player

    Dema Kovalenko – $200K for a mediocre DM.

    In sports, getting rid of these guys is addition by subtraction.

  8. Reyna was described by many fans as the worst player on the team. You need to have your head examined if you think that is true. JCO is correct.

  9. Tony in Quakeland:

    You disappoint me. I thought you were fairer than that.

    I’ll give you your point about me not being “a sunshine and bunnies kind of guy” when it comes to posting. I guess I just don’t see the point in being a cheerleader and putting a positive spin on everything if it means being unrealistic.

    You are being kind of dishonest with this comment aren’t you?

    “Although I do chuckle at the idea that losing Waterreus, Schopp or Quaranta should cause anybody to lose sleep. Meanwhile, you have left off:

    In- The Best Coach in MLS. ”

    Just like a politician you edited my point of view to make yours look better. Was I talking about Wattereus, Schopp, and Quaranta? You decided to just forget about players like Dema Kovalenko, Francis Doe, Clint Mathis, and Joe Vide? They didn’t make any contribution? You must have watched a different RBNY season than the one I saw. Even Wattereus made a big contribution at the beginning of the season when RBNY played their best soccer. Besides, we’re talking about having replaced these guys with practically nothing. A 16th overall draft pick and Oscar Echeverry was an improvement over all of those guys who left?

    I don’t think JCO is the best coach in MLS, but that’s just opinion, I guess. Your certainly entitled to yours. I liked him originally, but now that I am seeing more of his coaching and methods I become less impressed each day. I just don’t see how at this point you would give a guy credit for a net deficit of talent on a team that supposedly wasn’t good enough in the first place, and also say the same guys are playing better now that Arena’s gone when we haven’t even seen them play in real games yet. We’ll see how it plays out.

    Is it possible you just want NYRB to suck so there is someone for the Quakes to beat in their first season? 🙂

  10. I was on vacation in Puerto Rico last summer and saw Scott Palguta play in the Rhinos v Islanders game. Without a doubt, this guy is a stud. He is big, strong, quick and won everything close to him in the air. Oh, did I mention that he’s left-footed and a Jersey guy? I see he’s already caught Reyna’s eye. I hope Osario feels the same way.

  11. The fact is we need an AMid playmaker and two left-sided players stat or the fans are going to spend yet another season in fetal position.

  12. Haig nailed the most startling thing in that whole report.

    If JCO isn’t just blowing smoke to puff up Reyna and actually believes what he said about “unfair” criticism, he needs his head examined.

  13. I hope Osorio doesn’t force Reyna into the starting lineup the way he forced me into the starting lineup last season. My knees were clearly shot as I could only jog and barely jump but Osorio kept sending me out there, even in the most important game of the season, while there were other options who were in much better form than I was. I know Reyna makes a lot of money so there will be pressure to play him even if his body is broken and his skills are just a shadow of what they once were.

  14. I agree with Argi4 and Aristotle with regards to Mike Magee. Great pre-season play=bad and/or injured season.

    I’ve never liked the guy. Ever since his rookie season, I thought he was crap!

  15. “Osorio also made a point to state that Reyna has been unfairly criticized for what he brings to the team and he feels Reyna can have a major impact in 2008”

    Reyna has been criticized for his 2007 “play” and the fact that he is paid a lot of money for a player with an established history of health problems, but no way is it “unfair.”

    With the exception of a couple games, Reyna stucking fank last year. FACT.

  16. Aristotle, you’re not a sunshine and bunnies kind of guy are you? We’ll check back with each other in few months. Meanwhile, not being a Red Bulls fan, I am in for no awakening at all, rude or otherwise. Although I do chuckle at the idea that losing Waterreus, Schopp or Quaranta should cause anybody to lose sleep. Meanwhile, you have left off:

    In- The Best Coach in MLS.

    I like Arena, but he was playing out the string last year. He should have stayed out of the game another year before coming back.

  17. You forgot to mention that Roth is already injured. This squad looks very thin to me. Could be an ugly season if JCO doesn’t bring in another player or two.

  18. Tony in Dreamland:

    Your silly.:)

    What do you base this on?

    Is it this:

    Changes for the 2008 MLS Season


    Zach Thornton – Signed as a free agent

    Eric Brunner – Drafted 16th overall in 2008 MLS Superdraft

    Luke Sassano – Drafted 32nd overall in 2008 MLS Superdraft

    David Roth – Drafted 44th overall in 2008 MLS Superdraft

    Oscar Echeverry – Signed as a free agent

    Danleigh Borman – Drafted 7th overall in 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft


    Clint Mathis – Traded to Los Angeles Galaxy for a third round SuperDraft pick

    Joe Vide – Drafted by San Jose Earthquakes in the Expansion Draft

    Blake Camp – Waived

    Ronald Waterreus – Retired

    Markus Schopp – Retired

    Santino Quaranta – Waived

    Sal Caccavale – Waived

    Randi Patterson – Waived

    Chris Karcz – Waived

    Elie Ikangu – Waived

    Francis Doe – Waived

    Dema Kovalenko – Traded to Real Salt Lake for undisclosed 2010 MLS Superdraft pick

    Based on that I would say the team has definitely gone backwards.

    Is there anything BA can’t be blamed for?

    The current team is certainly not better than New England!

    I think you might be in for a rude awakening if this team stays the same.

  19. I have a co-worker who played youth soccer (before he went to a club) and went to high school (1 year) with Mike Magee.

    My co-worker says that, next to his athletic ability and talent, the most remarkable aspect of Magee was his profound stupidity.

    Nice guy, but dumb as a box of rocks.

  20. Tony,

    We don’t know there are improvements with the players from last year until the games start. And can you really blame Red Bull fans for being cynical towards a new coach? Seriously?

  21. Call me silly, but if I were a Red Bulls Fan, I’d be feeling pretty good right now. You’ve eliminated the fantastically under achieving Bruce Arena and replaced him with a coach who could have gotten more out of the exact same talent. But it looks like he is improving the talent and fitness level all around. I think they will be ahead of the Revs even if they might not quite reach the DC United level.

  22. Ives, I haven’t seen an updated list of allocations, yet. But, what influence, could the number/amount of allocation(s) and the expiry date(s) have on Red Bulls’ acquisition plans?

    Note that the last list I saw was from June ’07 and indicated that the Red Bulls’ one allocation was set to expire on 5/15/08. The Red Bulls have cleared considerable cap space and could make a pretty fat offer to a free agent if a decent one is available.

    I can see the Red Bulls standing pat until summer to see how the current team performs and in the hopes of adding more an impact player in the open window. But they won’t want to miss out on using the allocation money. If they move in this direction, what type of player do you think will be the first one brought in?

  23. Sorry for the double post, but every time the system hangs up it seems to double post.

    Athan: Wasn’t it just in the pas few years that Chris Leitch was voted the best defensive player on the team? I know it sounds silly, but I was pretty sure I heard that.

  24. Ah, Mike Magee. It seems like Mike Magee may be due some consideration as a prospective member of the Cory Gibbs and John O’Brien club. Granted he has never reached the skill level of either of those players, but he seems to have been around forever, and is always either struggling with form after a recent injury, or just injured.

    How many times have we heard Mike Magee was playing really well in pre-season and was looking good for a certain role with the team? It seems like just yesterday he was “tearing up” pre-season as a goal scorer, then went back to oblivion. Now he is impressing as an attacking midfielder in pre-season.

    In his seemingly brief moments of regular play, his best abilities do seem to be in the area of passing in the midfield. There was a very brief period where he looked like he just might be a decent midfielder. He is certainly not a striker.

    Remember when him and Eddie Gaven debuted together as sixteen and seventeen year olds and the future looked so bright? Why are so many of our young prospects in this league never materializing?

    If he gets injured again or falls out of form as the regular season starts, he needs to go somewhere else. Much like the team in some ways, he seems cursed. Maybe he is the curse? (Just kidding!)

  25. These Salzburg updates are making my Friday! Sounds like the rookies will have another major impact on the season. Is this a trend throughout the leauge? It’s great to see such a high level feed from college into the league as it will need it with San Jose, Seattle, and Philly coming on board.

  26. Nice to hear those comments about Reyna – I still hold out high hopes for him this year. I think he will be key to our success (or lack thereof) in 08, and I’m not sure why, but I believe he has a big year left in him.

  27. Thanks so much for making the trip, Ives.

    It seems that JCO is trying to make the majority of his inherited players work better together.

    Hopefully this’ll allow for another quick start this season.

  28. Oh man, Mike Magee as attacking center midfielder, boy is this team in trouble! I still can’t get over how a guy like Leitch can still be on this team. He can’t even pass the ball, let alone defend. I feel like this team is going backwards in talent, not forward!

  29. Good to hear there is a better option at left back and I always thought i could see DVB in an ACM role. His passing ability is spot on and he seems like a guy who can run the offense, if he gets more touches.


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