Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com
By DAVE MARTINEZ
The New York Red Bulls goalkeeping situation continues to be a major point of emphasis as the preseason forges on.
Amongst the guest players joining the club in Arizona are Ray Burse and Phillip Tuttle, two netminders expected to push Ryan Meara and Jeremy Vuolo while vying for a place on the club's roster.
Speaking to the press, assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen spoke glowingly of Meara and Vuolo. Asked whether the plan was to continue pursuing a veteran keeper, however, the Red Bulls assistant was non-committal.
"We had been looking for another goalie," Halvorsen conceded. "But you have to find one. And if you find one, it has to be much better than what we had. No sense to get another one in maybe a little bit better or on the same level, because we have two good young ones now."
Burse and Tuttle will get the chance to prove that they're at the level Halvoren is seeking.
Burse, 27, is formerly a backup with the Columbus Crew, but he was most recently the starter for NASL side Puerto Rico Islanders. The 6-foot-2 Burse has had a journeyman's career but found a home with Puerto Rico, helping the Islanders to a second-place finish last season.
Tuttle, 24, is a former Harrisburg City Islanders netminder. He was a second round Supplemental Draft pick for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2011 but was quickly released before finding a home as a backup with the third-tier USL Pro side.
Both players join the side after New York failed to sign goalkeeper Luis Robles. The league ruled Robles ineligible as a discovery claim, changing its original stance and forcing the keeper to find his way to a team through the allocation order. Robles removed himself from MLS consideration upon the league's decision.
Former Red Bulls keeper and Designated Player Frank Rost announced his retirement Tuesday as well, ruling the German veteran out as an emergency option.
HENRY RETURNS FROM LOAN
With Juan Agudelo training the U.S. Under-23 national team and Luke Rodgers not in camp while he continues to sort through his visa issue, the club got a boost to its front line with the return of Thierry Henry from his loan spell with Arsenal.
Henry has officially rejoined the club in Arizona after a successful loan in which he played in six games for the Gunners and scored three goals, including two match-winners.
Henry, Kenny Cooper and Corey Hertzog are the lone rostered forwards in camp with the club.
TRIALISTS AIM TO MAKE THEIR CASE
In addition to Burse and Tuttle, a number of other trialists have made the trip to Arizona for the Diamond Desert Cup.
Jose Angulo, Jhonny Arteaga, Leobardo Alvarez, Brandon Barklage, Georgi Chirgadze, Willis Forko, Tyler Ruthven and Ryan Maduro have all accompanied the club on its latest leg of the preseason. Forko and Ruthven will be rejoining New York after training with the club in New Jersey prior to the team's preseason in Mexico. The remaining guest players participated in the team's Mexico camp and impressed the staff enough to warrant a longer look.
Their first chance at making even more headway is tonight, when the Red Bulls take on Real Salt Lake at 10 p.m.
What do you make of the Red Bulls' goalkeeping situation? Think Henry and Cooper can make a strong strike tandem? Which trialists can you see making the club?
Share your thoughts below.