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Red Bulls training camp update


The Red Bulls completed their second pre-season friendly and have spent almost two weeks in California. If you’re wondering how things are going, wonder no more. Here is a rundown of some tidbits from Red Bulls training camp.

Jeff Parke was nursing a groin injury, which is why he didn’t play vs. Hammarby on Friday.

Francis Doe is also out with an undisclosed injury. He was slated to start in the club’s first match of the week but has been sidelined with an injury since.

Dave Van Den Bergh has left the team and returned home for personal reasons.

Trinidad & Tobago defender Atiba Charles has left camp and isn’t coming back. He was in camp for one day and, let’s just say, he was awful.

Not Red Bulls related but Charlie Davies was nursing a groin injury, which is why he didn’t play against the Red Bulls.

Diego Serna is still in camp but is struggling to make a real impact and looks like a real longshot to make the team. Sources tell me his inclusion in camp was a courtesy invite more than anything.

Juan Carlos Osorio’s desire to incorporate a 3-4-1-2 formation could lead to the club dealing one of its central defenders. Jeff Parke and Carlos Mendes could be vying for a roster spot, with the loser of that competition being trade bait. Rookie Eric Brunner has looked good and his ability to find the net gives him an edge over the club’s established veterans.

While suggestions of Dema Kovalenko’s form being off in camp may be a bit premature, what seems clear is that he will have to renegotiate his deal to stay wtih the Red Bulls. Kovalenko made just under $200K last season and with Seth Stammler signing a new deal that will pay him $105K in 2008, the Red Bulls will likely have to part ways with one of these players unless Kovalenko takes a significant pay cut. With rookie Luke Sassano playing well in camp as a defensive midfielder, and Reyna expected to play a deeper role once a true attacking midfielder is signed, the chances are actually very good that either Kovalenko or Stammler will be traded. The Red Bulls would certainly find takers for both.

Osorio is still on the hunt for a left winger and left-footed central defender BUT he is close to landing an attacking midfielder. According to a team source, the Red Bulls are confident of being able to close in on a new attacking midfielder before the end of the current MLS transfer window. No word on who the player is yet.

That’s all for now. Share your thoughts on these developments below.


  1. Atiba Charles picked up a knee problem after a day at trial according to a TTFF media release. It seems to indicate there is still interest in him.

  2. How about this trade – Dema to Chicago for Wilman Conde – the stars are aligning for this trade – Dema fills in Armas’s. Anyone know the cost of Conde?

  3. I agree with Amit and Haig. I just hope that if we do give up quality, we get quality. That has hardly ever happened for RBNY/Metro, it’d be nice if it would happen now. While I don’t want to see Parke, Mendes, Stammler or Kovalenko go, it would be a nice step in the right direction if we were to get something very valuable for them. I have no answers as to who exactly, but the days of $h!t trades, need to be over!!

  4. Ives, As a Revs fan I always liked Marshall Leonard. Is he still in camp? How is he doing? Do you think he will find a role on the team or a way to contribute? I think he could probably be a nice back up on the left.

  5. Haig nailed again.

    We are so reactive to situations in the FO. There is never a real methodical plan or long term on the field vision, (sure i bet RB has a nice off the field vision) but they never seem ahead of the curve.

    Kassel for example, why did they not research all the NCAA rules earlier instead of waiting until 2 days before going to camp in California to figure out if he could go? Why is it after 4 years as a youth player the team still isn’t sure what they want to do with him?

    We always seem to be chasing out own tail in this league. But that is what extreme change and turnover year to year will do to you. Constant change, no consitancy, and no chance to become a proactive organization that is prepared for anything at any moment.

  6. I like Stammler’s game. He is perhaps one of the most trustful defenders that the RBNY have. If you compare the contribution of Reyna and Stammler for the past year, Stammler did A LOT more for the club.

  7. $75,000 raise for stammler? i mean the guy proved versatile and filled a lot of holes last year for the team, but to be paid over $100,000 for a stop-gap that Osorio is supposed to not need this season? who is his agent!!!!

  8. Kovalenko, Parke, VDB. The teams that excel in MLS get good value for players like that: allocation dollars or good young players who contribute. Today DC traded the rights for Vanney, an overpaid, over-the-hill player who was already off the team for Quavas Kirk, a young, versatile, and pretty good player. We, however, put ourselves in a position where players who are surplus to present needs are dumped for nothing or for a late round draft pick (or worse, someone else’s garbage).

    This kind of thing happens WHENEVER a new coach comes in and cleans house for us. That’s why the entire league is littered with starting players who we gave up for absolutely nothing, while we are mediocre at best.

    It’s called building the value of your team. Houston and DC are great at it (cases of the rich getting richer). Crap teams like LA and RSL are the teams who give up value, desperate to make changes for the sake of making changes. Wynne and Dunivant are great examples of us bleeding value for no purpose other than to satisfy a coach’s ego. If we give up Dema or VDB, guys who may not fit JCO’s current idea of his system but who have a lot of flexibility and demonstrable talent, for nothing other than a few salary cap dollars and maybe a late draft pick, it’ll be yet another example of quality going elsewhere, and a warning sign that JCO is more interested in a commitment to a “system” (i.e., the coach’s ego) than in building the overall value of the team (which is what assures teams of success over a long period of time).

  9. Ives. Thanks for a great update.

    The most exciting news above is that club seems to have identified an attacking mid they like — someone they would not be settling for — and that this player could join the club by mid-April. This is fantastic news. I’m excited to learn who the player is.

    If the Red Bulls parted ways with Kovalenko or Stammler, it would be due to the salary cap; if so, I would rather hold onto Stammler as Kovalenko seems more prone to injury although I love his heart and passion for the game (Actually, I would have preferred to hang onto Ricardo Clark or Michael Bradley but those days are gone.)

    Another player who earns a lot is Dave VDB; hopefully we can get something for VDB rather than just let him go

    Lastly, before trading Mendes or Parke, I would try to get something with Leitch and/or Goldthwaite.

  10. We gave up on this Atiba Charles guy after only 1 day? What is the harm in giving him a second chance? What are we Manchester United? I find it hard to believe he’s worse then Leitch or Goldthwaite. I’m upset by this.

  11. Brunner is quality, saw him play last season for the Michigan Bucks. Good edition by Osorio and am glad to see him starting well with the Red Bull

  12. But here’s the real question:

    Matt Kassel

    Are we picking the kid up? Because we could really use him this season and in the future. It would be a shame for the team not to get this talent and deepen its roots in the community.

    Is there any update on his NCAA elgibility? Or is it not even relevant anymore because NY is going to sign him to a pro contract? (please please…)

  13. Adam, the chance of Houston trading Holden to NY is zero. Plus Chicago has Bakary Soumare, so I don’t understand this theory that they’re lacking a defensive mid.

    I think it would be a mistake to let either Stammler or Kovalenko go. Those guys are fierce on the field and considerably strengthen the midfield or backline. Osario has spoken of playing a 3-5-2 at home and a 4-4-2 on the road, so there needs to be enough players who can move from the midfield to the backline, or the team needs to have additional defensive depth.

    I don’t understand why Osorio and Agoos can’t find cap space for Dema when they’re likely shipping out VDB and just picked up Etcheverry for a six man striker corp. Even if the team loses Altidore over the summer, those allocation dollars should be available to extend the cap.

  14. Osario needs to call the Galaxy. He could probably get Mike Randolph, Kyle Martino, and Kevin Harmse for Seth Stammler.

    And maybe draft picks.

  15. One would think that in a 3-4-1-2, Parke, Mendes and Brunner would all be able to take up any spot along the backline. Even if you add a left-footed central defender, I think all of them stay.

    I think Kovalenko will move on once an attacking midfielder is acquired, and either Goldthwaite or Dave VDB is gone once that left-sided midfielder is brought in.

    Perhaps Kovalenko will be shipped out for a left-sided player…does any team in MLS have one to spare?

    Houston has Brad Davis, Cory Ashe and Stuart Holden (can play both flanks) but doesn’t need Kovalenko.

    Chicago has a boatload of strikers, and Dema would be a logical choice to return to Chicago and replace Chris Armas.

    So I propose a three-way trade:

    Kovalenko to Chicago
    Barrett and a draft pick to Houston.
    Holden to RBNY

    Ives, get on the phone and make it happen.

  16. Danny, yes, I’ve been told that the club stands a very good chance of landing an attacking midfielder by the April 15 deadline. That’s all I know on that.

    And I agree that dealing Parke or Mendes would be unfortunate, but it is a possibility. I think having a center back trio of Parke, Mendes and Brunner would be good but if the club wants to sign one more center back you have to think Parke or Mendes will be traded.

  17. Ives,
    More clarification. VDB has left the team, as in no longer on the roster, or left the team’s training camp temporarily to take care of said issues.

  18. Ives, just to clarify, when you say “before the end of the current transfer window” you mean by April 15th, we’ll get that attacking mid?

    Love Dema, but don’t think he’s worth the money…nor Woly.

  19. Ives,

    Am I understanding you correctly? Is Osorio’s 3-4-1-2 utilizing ONE center-back and two full-backs? Is that why Parke and Mendes are fighting for a starting spot?


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