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A pre-season look at the New York Red Bulls


How do you rebuild and repair the worst team in Major League Soccer? The New York Red Bulls appear to be putting together a decent blueprint for how to recover from a disastrous season like 2009 was for the Red Bulls.

The club's Disney Soccer Classic Championship doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but the performances of the team's new players show signs of a team ready to recover from season to forget. From impressive rookies to quality international acquisitions, the 2010 Red Bulls have posted an undefeated preseason and are looking like a team that could surprise in MLS this season.

Here are some observations of the Red Bulls from the Disney Classic:

Joel Lindpere is looking like an answer in central midfield. Signed as a left winger, Lindpere was given the chance at the Disney Classic to play in central midfield, where he has played previously in his career, and he was thoroughly impressive with his relentless work rate and sharp passing. He's not a classic playmaker, but he can help the Red Bulls win the battle in the middle.

"He was a different class," Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said of Lindpere's play in the middle. "Central midfield isn't where he hasn't played recently but he could play well there in this league."


Roy Miller may solve the club's long-standing left back woes. Few positions caused more headaches for the Red Bulls in 2009 than left back, but that may no longer be the case now that Costa Rican Roy Miller has emerged as a very strong option at left back. He's dangerous and effective getting forward, but is also solid as a defender so he's not a liability in the back. He's got good size as well so he can handle himself in the final third and penalty area.

He had been touted as a central defender, and saw time on the left wing at the Disney Classic, but left back is where he will make the biggest impact.


The rookie most likely to begin the season as a starter is Tim Ream. That might be tough to believe considering Tony Tchani is on the team, but Ream has thoroughly impressed with his poise, touch, vision and passing ability. Red Bulls coach Hans Backe calls him a prototypical European-style centerback and lauds his passing ability and cerebral approach to the game.


John Agudelo needs to be signed QUICKLY. Six months ago, Agudelo looked like a skinny kid who was several years away from being able to contribute as a pro. Today, he looks like a very different prospect and someone who could be making an impact as early as 2011. Agudelo has filled out physically and is playing with supreme confidence. He's still a bit raw and inconsistent, as you would expect for a player his age, but Agudelo has the look of a future star and just might be the top rookie to emerge from 2010 when it's all said and done. That's if he signs.


The goalkeeper situation is still unresolved. Bouna Coundoul is the starter, but I don't get the impression that the coaching staff is sold on him as the starter. Caleb Patterson-Sewell and Greg Sutton are still vying for the No. 2 spot, with Patterson-Sewell looking like the favorite there. The question at this point is whether the Red Bulls will look to address this position considering the other needs the team still has. Our money is on the club sticking with Coundoul and Patterson-Sewell, at least until the summer.


The Red Bulls are still looking for a right back, forward, central defender and left midfielder. Sounds like they're looking for everything, but certain positions are more pressing concerns.

Forward is a position the club is expected to address, though that address may not come until the summer. As it stands, Macoumba Kandji has been sidelined by a groin injury and there continue to be questions about his toughness and penchant for missing time with minor injuries. When healthy, he's the clear choice to start alongside Juan Pablo Angel, but he hasn't been healthy. If the club really is moving in for Thierry Henry, this might be a position that is left as-is for the time being.

John Wolyniec remains an option, but is looking more like a bench option right now. Connor Chin has looked good and could see minutes if the club doesn't add any more strikers.

At right back, Enar Jaager has impressed as a trialist but still hasn't convinced the club to pull the trigger on a contract. Luke Sassano has been used at right back but looks a touch slow to be a first-choice option there. Chris Albright is still sidelined and it remains unclear whether he will be an option. Then you have Jeremy Hall, who has been used at a variety of positions. He could very well wind up at right back again after spending much of his rookie year there.

Central defense isn't the pressing need it once was thanks to the play of Tim Ream, but don't be surprised if another centerback is brought in. This is particularly true if Kevin Goldthwaite's recovery from off-season surgery winds up taking longer than expected.

Left wing is a position that needs to be addressed if Lindpere is going to wind up in central midfield. Backe can go with Jeremy Hall or rookie Austin Da Luz, but he may be inclined to search the international market. Lindpere could still wind up on the left flank, particularly if Tony Tchani continues to impress and makes himself a viable starting option alongside Seth Stammler. With Tchani, it's more a matter of when, not if he will wind up a starter.


So what will the starting lineup look like for the 2010 Red Bulls? There are likely to be some new players brought in, but based on what the club currently has, here's a potential starting XI we could see when the season starts a month from now.






What do you think about the Red Bulls' pre-season so far? Like the roster moves the club has made? Still think they are missing too many pieces?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I saw the play Crystal Palace Baltimore last preseason: they ddin’t look so hot. The season that followed was still a bit of a surprise to me based on that performance.

  2. Bouna is a good keeper. Woly is a cone.
    People bash Bouna even though he played well last year in spite of showing up on a team that had already lost all confidence and had a very weak midfield.

    Woly has been an unproductive for the last 2 seasons. Possibly 1 goal created on his own & the others bounced off of him and went into the net. ( Assists by Richards btw) And yet no one bemoans his lack of quality. Why is this? He has maybe 6 six goals in 2 seasons. And very few of his own doing.

    This year’s team looks fired up! Everyone looks like they’re ready to have a great year and I am excited to get it going.

  3. I don’t understand the lack of respect for Condoul. I have watched Condoul play MANY times, and overall he was very impressive. I don’t remember people complaining this much about Jon Conway, and Condoul is much better than Conway.

  4. other eastern conf teams have got weaker(with exception to CLB). NY will be in the mix just be default..regardless of the new players and system


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