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Red Bulls Practice Report

KhanoSmithJPA (New York Red Bulls) 

The New York Red Bulls trained on a cold and dreary day in Montclair on Thursday, one week and 3,000 miles removed from last week's embarrassing 3-0 debacle against Seattle. While memories of that season-opening loss still linger, the Red Bulls don't have much time to dwell.

New England is coming to town on Saturday, fresh off a 1-0 season-opening victory against San jose. The Red Bulls know that beating the Revs will be vital to avoiding a terrible start to the season, especially with a road game in Chicago looming next week.

What is clear is that we won't see anything close to the starting XI that looked so bad vs. Seattle. For one, Jorge Rojas won't play on Saturday as he is playing with Venezuela. That isn't the only change we are likely to see when the Red Bulls take the field on Saturday.

So what starting lineup and formation should we see on Thursday? Here is one possible grouping:

Red Bulls projected lineup vs. New England





Kevin Goldthwaite was held out of training while he nursed an ankle injury. Danleigh Borman played left back in his place and will get the nod if Goldthwaite can't go. You have to wonder whether head coach Juan Carlos Osorio isn't considering benching Goldthwaite anyway after last week's terrible showing. Osorio sounded confident that Goldthwaite could put the performance behind him and be ready for Saturday.

So why wouldn't Goldthwaite start? Well, he had all sorts of problems with the speed of Seattle winger Sanna Nyassi, and will now have to face Nyassi's brother Sainey on New England. Sainey is also a fast midfielder/forward who could create major headaches for Goldthwaite, especially if he is nursing an ankle knock.

Khano Smith's return from suspension should provide a big boost, because Mac Kandji just didn't look comfortable there last week. Smith is the team's only natural veteran left winger. Borman can play there but didn't show much last week.

We should see the 4-4-2 this week, with a 4-2-3-1 like we saw last week a very unlikely option this time around. Smith and Dane Richards are natural wingers who should be able to create some chances for the Red Bulls. As bad as the 4-2-3-1 looked last week, Osorio said the team has the players to make that formation work, but he is still waiting on players to arrive and get healthy.

We should see Kandji get the start ahead of speedy striker Dominic Oduro, although Oduro should play a role this Saturday, unlike last week, when he didn't get off the bench vs. Seattle.

What does look clear is that the Red Bulls know New England can, and probably will, dominate the middle of the field with Shalrie Joseph and Jeff Larentowicz, so look for New York to try and by pass the midfield with long passes from Jeremy Hall and Danleigh Borman if Borman plays left back. Hall is all but a lock to start after coming on as a first-half sub against Seattle and impressing. On Thursday, Hall was working on his long passes and his accuray was as impressive as you would expect from the standount winger he was in college.

Osorio hasn't declared his lineup yet but it certainly looks like he will go with Luke Sassano and Sinisa Ubiparipovic in central midfield. That same tandem helped guide New York to the MLS Cup final last season, but it will be hard-pressed to win the battle in the middle with Joseph and Larentowicz.

Those hoping to see Albert Celades will be sorely disappointed. The Spanish midfielder was scheduled to meet with immigration officials in Spain on Friday, meaning he won't be available for Saturday's match. Even if he receives his paperwork on Friday, Osorio isn't going to play a player who A) didn't train this week and B) just came in on a flight from Europe.

That's all for now. What do you think of these developments? Glad to see Smith and Hall in the lineup? Praying Pietravallo doesn't get another start? Think the Red Bulls can rebound with a win this week?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I have to agree, the Revs are undermanned, so we will probably have long periods of furious defending…Mansally, Nyassi, and even Thompson supply speed, but the concern is what they do after they get the ball!
    I love Khano Smith, I really do, but you guys have to be worried about which version shows up tomorrow, the speedy winger capable of great crosses and goals, or his evil twin.
    I think the Revs can win, but it won’t be easy. I wouldn’t cry over a draw.

  2. Ah, the roster shuffling has already begun!

    Was baffled to see Pietrovallo starting last week. Sure would like to see Sassano in there. Pietrovalla/Rojas were a terrible team and I’m not sure Rojas/Celades will work either.

    I’m not sure Kandji is going to make it as a striker in MLS, at least not in a 2-man system, and probably not playing with a disinterested Angel.

    I’m wondering if Oduro might not be a better partner for JPA — at least he offers an over-the-top option with pure breakaway speed that will worry the defense. Kandji seems to want to “play” more, and also would like to keep his defense on the field.

  3. i hope kandji doesnt play wing and angel has some company in the front but besides that im excited for another season at the meadow lands

  4. It may only be week two, but we need a home victory. Need to be winning the home games when we badly suck on the road. 1-1 is a lot better than 0-2 when the next two games are at Chicago and Houston. That is a potential start of 0-4. Osorio needs to start playing players in their possitions.

    Can’t get any worse.

  5. The lineup may not be strong, but I prefer the 4-4-2. I am not a fan of a formation with one striker. The problem with this franchise has always been that they play too much long ball. They never dominate possession. Can’t string more than two passes. Also, signing players that are never ready to be in the lineup when the season starts, especially since Osorio has been in charge.

  6. Ossington, sorry to tell you but the trade was Goldthwaite for Dunivant. NY traded Wynne for an allocation they used to get Juan Pablo Angel. I’d say they’re happy with that trade.

  7. I was always amazed that NJ traded Wynne for Goldthwaite and felt they got the better end of the deal. Dude was terrible in TO and that hasnt changed, regardless of his form during hte playoffs last season.

  8. I’m afraid Larry has the right of it. Van den Berg was probably our best player in the MLS Cup final run. Khano Smith (unless he has made a HUGE jump) is crap. Add that to a poor backline and you end up with an awful lineup. Our only saving grace is how many Revs are injured for this match. Ah well, it IS a long (and mostly meaningless) season.

  9. my bad on dane.. for some reason i thought he was let go by the redbulls and on trial somewhere else before going back the redbulls

  10. RB have one player of note, JPA. The others are fair, at best. Dave van den Berg was the only fun guy to watch. The idea that the RB are relying on Khano Smith is a joke. He was never particularly good on a good team; how’s he going to fair with a loser? Classify me as a former MetroBull fan who can’t help the self-inflicted pain that comes from watching them.

  11. look at the bright side…that projected starting line up is basically addition by subtraction with pietrovallo not there.

    i dont think that line up is all too shabby

  12. I’m still really worried about this week, but I don’t think it’ll be as bad as v. Seattle. NE doesn’t have a Montero to deal with.

    HOWEVER, people need to settle down and have a little patience, it is a long season with alot of parity. While it was ugly, it was only 1 game. There is plenty of time for NY to turn things around.

  13. I’m going to the game but I’ve got to admit this lineup does not make me want to show up if the weather is lousy. Hopefully we will benefit from the home field bounce because our lineup is sorely lacking.

    Can’t wait until the end of the season when out come the “if only”s.

  14. Goldthwaite sucks!! How does he keep making the lineup??

    I love metrofanatic’s Osorio lineup generator. You won’t get the same lineup twice! It’s like rolling dice! What will it be this week, hrmmmmm???? LOL

  15. Why do people think the red bulls are good you have 2 wingers who have been bounced by multiple teams in richards and smith.. if they weren’t good enough to stick with other teams why do you think they are all of a sudden starter quality for the redbulls?

  16. does anyone else think kandhi appears uncoordinated on the field. i know he’s fast, but from what i’ve seen of him, unless he’s got space to turn on that speed of his, he’s pretty inept.

    i’ve only seen him a couple of times, so maybe he’s still adjusting. any thoughts from others?

  17. Revs new signing will likely NOT play as reports indicate he doesn’t have his P1 visa yet (like Celades).

    Injured Revs include: Twellman, Castro, Ralston, Badilla, and Albright. Albright might be able to play, but the others not.

    Possible lineup:

    ———– Dube
    ————— Mansally
    Thompson – Joseph – Larentowicz – Nyassi
    Alston – Heaps – Barnes – Albright
    ————- Reis

    Joseph, Larentowicz, and Reis are class. The rest of lineup is merely average (e.g. Heaps) to shaky (e.g. Wells Thompson).

    Alston and Barnes are rookies.

    Seems like this will be a match of two under-manned teams. RBNY appear to be even with NE in terms of on-paper talent for this match. RNBY have the home field. RBNY have the most dangerous player on the pitch, in terms of changing the game with one strike of the ball (Angel). NE have slight edges from (a) confidence coming off a win, and (b) fewer changes form week 1 lineup. I’d say it’s a toss-up

  18. as some of the later posters mentioned, the revs are not in good shape either. They have been losing players to europe over the last couple of years and are not spending money to replace them. Should be a wonderfully ugly game

  19. Wow, this is supposed to be depth? The Red Bulls stink, and it’ll take more than Celades (who will make a substantial difference) to the one reliable guy, Petke, into a formidable defense.

  20. This lineup isn’t that different from the lineup that took the Red Bulls to MLS Cup last year. They may not win Saturday, but there’s no reason why they won’t do well this season.

  21. as someone who saw diskeruud play you people shouldnt lose sleep over him. I dont know the fascination with over hyping players when not a single one of you guys have ever seen. He is Slight of frame, slow on the ball and seemed to be in over his head with the us20’s down in mexico at Copa chivas. There is probably a reason he hasnt heard back.

  22. @Guy, thanks for confirming that Dube isn’t a burner. Sometimes the sneaky guys are just as troublesome.

    While RBNY has it’s issues, the Revs aren’t exactly in full force either. Twellman, Badilla and Castro are all out, and Ralston and Albright are questionable. So they seems to be in a similar boat as us.

  23. The good news for the RedBulls is that the Revs offense is horrible right now. Yeah, they beat San Jose on the road, but they did it on one shot on goal. I give the RedBulls a punchers chance this weekend.

  24. Calm down, folks. It’s week two & we’ve yet to have all our players together yet. All is not lost. Revs are a slow team & can be beaten.

  25. New England just signed a 19 year old forward from Cameroon today. He’s supposed to be ready for action immediately. It will be interesting to see he debuts during this game.

  26. If you’re looking for Kano Smith to help turn your fortunes around, you’ve got some big issues. I had a grin from ear to ear when he got taken from the Supah-Revs in the supplemental draft.

  27. Not thrilled about this lineup after all the talk about how deep this team is suppose to be. I know there are several circumstances working against RBNY on this particular weekend, but it’s ugly.

    At least you’d expect Sassano and Ubi to play with plenty of energy to hopefully keep the midfield from being overrun as it was last week.

    Besides, Nyassi, I don’t think New England is blessed with a lot of speed which should make things a little easier on the backline. Please correct me if I’m wrong, I just haven’t followed the comings and goings this off-season in NE, and I don’t remember Dube being particularly fast.

  28. We just got humiliated by an expansion team (if not your average one), and looking at this lineup how can I possibly expect to see a win on Saturday? Ugh.

  29. For the second season running we have spent so much time dithering over player signings in the offseason that we will have dug ourselves a massive hole by the time the fifth or sixth game rolls around.

    It’s going to take a while for guys like Celades, Johnson and Pacheco to bed in. By that time we could really be behind the 8 ball.

    Add to that a manager who seems to constantly play people out of position and you have a recipe for another long painful season.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  30. I actually think that Kandji did a very good job of providing defensive cover for Goldthwaite on the left. I wonder if we could see Khano Smith play at left back and Kandji play left wing(although Smith seems a walking red card). We’d have tons of speed up that left flank and Richards paired with Hall looks set to yield nice results.

  31. i’m not do excited about this lineup because in the lineup above there is no stammler, celedas not being there will hurt us alot as well, no jorge rojas will hurt our control, no pacheco or johnson makes our back line loop pretty amateur and i’m not very confident in borman’s defensive abilities. Whatever happens happens i guess what can you do.


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