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Red Bulls Notes


It was a busy day at Red Bulls training facility, what with three new players to speak to and plenty of other news to get into. I had lengthy interviews with Macoumba Kandji (pictured), Matt Mbuta, Terry Boss and Juan Carlos Osorio that I will look to post later today. For now, here is a rundown of some of the highlights from training and from the post-training interviews:

There is a small chance the Red Bulls game against Columbus on Thursday could be postponed until Saturday. The city of Columbus was recently hit hard by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, leading to power outages and the issuing of a state of emergency in Ohio. The game is still likely to be played on Thursday but the league is looking into contingency plans for a postponement.

Macoumba Kandji will probably be rested for the Columbus Crew match to give his injured right ankle time to fully heal. That would mean his Red Bulls debut would come against Colorado on Sept. 27th. He will wear No. 30.

Fans wondering of Kandji could one day wind up on the U.S. national team will be disappointed to hear that Kandji plans on playing for his native Senegal when given the chance. Kandji’s father was a Senegalese national team player and Senegal has been in contact with Kandji about coming to national team camps. He plans to go once his citizenship status is cleared up, thus allowing him to travel outside the country.

When asked what players he liked to pattern his game after, Kandji said Thierry Henry above all others. I was tempted to ask him what it would mean to play alongside Thierry Henry next year but left it alone.

One thing Kandji is not lacking is confidence. When asked if he thinks he’ll make a smooth transition to MLS, Kandji smiled and insisted he would.

Dave Van Den Bergh will have sports hernia surgery on Friday in Germany. The club decided to have Van Den Bergh have the surgery now because if it had wanted much longer Van Den Bergh would have had to wait until October to have the surgery.

Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio defended the decision to carry four goalkeepers. While he admitted that four is probably one too many on a 28-man roster, he doesn’t think the team has sacrificed depth in field positions in order to add Terry Boss. Osorio intends to have Boss, Danny Cepero and Caleb-Patterson Sewell compete for the two goalkeeper spots on next year’s roster and all three will see time in the team’s three remaining reserve games.

It should probably be noted that, as shocked as some people are about the Red Bulls carrying four goalkeepers, the club has essentially had four goalkeepers on the roster most of the season. Danny Cepero was taking up a developmental roster spot during his loan spell with Harrisburg, so Boss has essentially replaced Zach Thornton on the roster.

Speaking of Terry Boss, he revealed that he never played football like his brother, New York Giants tight end Kevin Boss, but that Kevin did play soccer until seventh grade. Boss is big (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and is built like a linebacker. When Boss and Kandji (6-foot-4) crossed paths during the interview sessions it almost felt like being at a basketball practice instead of soccer practice.

For those of you who have lost count, the Red Bulls have added eight new players since July: Jorge Rojas, Gabriel Cichero, Juan Pietravallo, Diego Jimenez, Sainey Tourey, Macoumba Kandji, Matt Mbuta and Terry Boss.

Those wondering about Seth Stammler’s availability for Thursday (or Saturday) can relax. The Gahanna Gattuso trained fully today and looked pretty sharp (and yes I just made that nickname up. Sue me.)

Wondering what lineup we might see against Columbus on Thursday (or Saturday)? Here is an early guess (based on what I saw in practice today):






When asked whether the loss to Crystal Palace Baltimore in the U.S. Open Cup in July opened his eyes to the possibility of finding players in the USL, Osorio gave an emphatic "yes" as his answer.

That’s all for now. I will post more on Kandji, Boss and Mbuta either tonight or tomorrow morning. For now, share your thoughts on these notes in the comments section below.


  1. Wrong as I think you are only allowed 8…Jimenez is married to an American and has a green card, but yes all 9 have played in other lands and bring a nice intl. flavor!

  2. …..for those of you keeping count, JCO has added 9 foreign players to the squad this season (out of 9 – Boss is a PR international).


  3. I’m excited by Kanji.

    He looks to have a big future and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the move to Europe in the future, but he will learn from playing alongside Angel that he should set his sights higher than Belgium. So I expect him to hang around for at least next season.

  4. Unfortunately Eugene RB don’t have the right players to play 3 5 2 even at home games!! We just don’t have the players, specifically defenders. Our defenders are slow and for a line of 3 to be effective you need fast defenders (at least 2 out of 3) Cichero and parke are good defenders but not the quickest right? So at this point they can only afford to go 3 5 2 on homes games.. But..with stammler and pieteavallo in that line of five. I really liked how they worked on that game with DC at giants stadium

  5. Is it me or does there seem like there’s a lot more movement from USL to MLS this year than in years past?

    I’m not sure if you’d be up to it, Ives, but I’d appreciate seeing a piece by some knowledgeable soccer writer in the US on the relationship between MLS and USL — what it’s been like historically, how the leagues differ, and how this relationship might potentially evolve over time. Unless you’ve got a local USL team, it’s close to impossible to get a good read on the league, its teams, its structure, etc.

  6. The difference with playing against RSL at home was that the team plays a 3-5-2 at home so they had 6 offensive players on the field and 4 defensive.

    On the road they’ll play with 4 in the back, so the question is do you want to have 5 offensive players and 5 defensive players or 4 offensive players and 6 defensive players.

    Realistically, we’re ok in the table if we end up with a draw in this game; So maybe the strategy is to button-down the defense, go for a 1-0 win and be alright if we settle with a draw. If that’s the strategy, I can understand playing with 6 defense-oriented players.

    On the other hand, Moreno, Schelotto and Rogers are three of the most fouled players in the league and Columbus is very dangerous off of set pieces. It’s likely that with having Pietra, Stammler and Cichero in there we’ll give them some chances on free kicks and they’ll have a high enough probability of converting at least one. In that case, perhaps the best strategy is just to come out and attack and beat them on the offensive side.

  7. That’s the way to go especially against Columbus… They have to go with 2 holding mids. Even with salt lake at home RB was struggling with just pietravallo in there. Remember 1st half? So I’m hoping stammler will be fit.

  8. Excellent work Ives, you are in rare form today. While I am a midfielder nicknamed Del Piero, I have an appreciation for those who keep the ball out of the net, as well as, the poachers whom tip it in…so I can see JCOs thinking on the 4 g.k. While I am thrilled we signed 8, we did not replace both Jozy and Eche. I hope that is addressed in Jan. Mac is the new future Jozy, however we need a certain talented veteran Colombian forward, for depth. You can never have enough good forwards or g.k.s!

  9. Ppl can joke all they want about Woly, but I like how we looked last week with 2 attacking mids and 2 forwards.

    But yes, this is a road game and Columbus is better than RSL. So if we’re gonna add another defensive minded player I prefer an extra defender (sorry Stammler).

  10. AG, I love playing 12 against 11, but last time I tried that formation on this message board I got shot down.

    I drew out a 4-4-2 diamond with Pietra as the holding mid. In my opinion, the other options are to play with a second d-mid to counter Schelotto and without an attacking mid or as Ives drew out with 2 d-mids and a player in the attacking mid/2nd striker role. I just don’t think Magee plays that role well and it’ll end up starving Angel for service.

  11. Ives,

    while at the game last Saturday I noticed a couple of things with the RB. First, I like Rojas a lot, and I believe he would benefit to have someone else like him in the midfield (kind of the Xavi and Iniesta combo). Richards, as fast as he is, is one dimensional and he has fallen into thinking he can overrun defenders every time. His crossing game has suffered too.

    If you play Angel and Mac up front, I would like to see someone like Nol Solano on the right side. I do not know the details of LA’s failed attempts to get him a couple of months ago, but he was interested on playing in MLS. Could be worth a try for the RB.

    The other thing, prior to the RSL goal, Ciccero raced up field and created a turnover that almost cost the RB a goal. Dave VDB was all over him! Good to see some leadership. Also, Rojas was constantly yelling something to the RB bench but could make up what it was all about. Can you ask him what it was all about?

    Lastly, Boyens was not in the lineup. He was on the stands in section 130 accompanied by two lovely leggy ladies. Lucky bastard!


  12. Ives, thanks for asking Osorio about the talent of the USL player pool.

    Just keep in mind that it was the second straight year that a USL club took out an MLS club managed by Osorio in USOC play. Last year Chicago went down to Carolina and the Railhawks sent them back up North with their tales between their legs.

    I never talked to Kandji but Boss I know well from his time with the Islanders, the PR National Team and Charlotte (I’m a big Terry Boss guy); Matthew was a joy both as a player and as a good guy to have here in Baltimore the last two seasons and he can contribute.

    I wish them both the best!!!

  13. ives, is jimenez really out of favor after that mistake? is he playing worse at practice? goldthwaite is abysmally slow, and i’d much rather see diego play.

    not playing jimenez reminds me of bruce arena’s benching of carlos mendes after that dreadful own-goal in foxboro — he never was the same after that…

  14. My mom’s cat is named Gattuso…and he looks a bit like Stammy… Thanks for the info Ives…

    When would MLS decide to postpone the game vs Columbus?

  15. I think they will lose with that line-up — just not enough attacking coordination to pierce Columbus’ defense and Angel may end up starved for service. I think it would just be better to give Borman the start on the left wing and play Rojas in the middle as a playmaker.

    At least that way, they’ll retain speed AND Rojas’ attack coordination from the middle. Otherwise Carroll is going to mark-out Magee. I would rather see this:







    That way leave Carroll to battle Rojas (which Rojas can win 1v1) and not allow their centerbacks to double-team Angel.

    Also gives us some speed on the left and the right to stretch out their defense.

    Definitely understand the concern with Schelotto though, and having only one d-mid to deal with him.

  16. Ives,

    Thanks man. Great coverage. Looking forward to the interviews.


    I believe Rojas’s national team position is left wing, don’t quote me on that though.

    I think this lineup is good.

    Especially, if you put Kanji at left wing or forward. This is depth. Does anyone else think they are coming down with a fever?


  17. Maybe I missed it in another thread, and certainly is not MLS’s oh-so-informative web site, but is the Houston game (against San Jose) still on for next Saturday?

  18. BringMathisBack – being this late into the season, he’s using the remaining spots to find out who he wants to bring into next season… the starting XI is already picked, and the subs are nearly solidified at this point…. bar injury there shouldnt be any change in the lineup so why not use remaining spots to find some diamonds in the roughs before next season??

    Hamlett seems ok with our current setup, but somethings wrong… with the players we have we should be able to score…

  19. Ives,

    Obviously I’m thrilled your website is working out, but damn I miss you covering the Red Bulls daily. Not to tout other websites, but Brian Lewis does do a good job.

    Thanks for the info, your site freaking rules.


  20. carrying 4 goalies is just ridiculous…

    on another note, if the game does get moved back to saturday, is there a possibility we see kandji play in that game?

  21. vandenbergh out, that’s it for RB…. Unless they switch Rojas to DVB’s role,they have similar characteristics (doesnt he play like that with venezuela?)but then… Who would fill Rojas role? Good luck RB in keeping up with those good results


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