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What a whopper trade means for the New York Red Bulls

Dec 3, 2012, 10:01 AM EDT

New York Red Bulls v DC United - Eastern Conference Semifinals Getty Images

The reported arrival of two fairly high-salaried men to Red Bull Arena can only mean that a familiar name or two are about to be pushed out. Perhaps even the second most familiar one?

It also means that Red Bull is already moving down a dangerous path.

The arrivals of big center back Jamison Olave and feisty striker Fabian Espindola give the Red Bulls more bite in front and back. It means one of the center backs will not return in 2013; whether that is Markus Holgersson or Rafa Marquez, we’ll have to wait and see. Clearly, Marquez would be the bigger news.

While the former Mexican international remains a talented presence whose passing can get the attack moving quickly and effectively, he has proven unreliable in a stunning variety of ways. Marquez is prone to bad bookings that can (and have) left the team playing with 10 at the worst possible times. He is prone to lapses in effort, jogging behind critical plays at times. And he has thrown teammates under the boss in public, as he did somewhat infamously with Tim Ream two years ago.

(On the other hand, it would give people like me much less to write about; the man was a content producer’s dream.)

This also means that one of the big forward acquisitions of 2012, Kenny Cooper or Sebastien Le Toux, is likely to be moved on.

As for that dangerous path, here’s the thing:

The new management is making bold moves without a head coach, always a dangerous approach. Decisions are now being made by Gérard Houllier, the global sporting director of Red Bull Soccer, and by former Scottish national team manager Andy Roxburgh. Both have loads of European soccer experience, which is wonderful … if you’re in Europe. We aren’t.

They are also in charge of replacing manager Hans Backe (pictured with Marquez), who had “dead man walking” status as soon as Houllier took over and was dismissed on the day after New York tumbled out of the playoffs.

So, the question can be asked: are things getting better or worse around Red Bull Arena when men with zero MLS experience are selecting personnel (and tweaking salary cap buttons that they’ve never dealt with Europe) without the knowledge of how a new manager wants to play?

That certainly appears to be the case.

  1. wesbadia - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    “That certainly appears to be the case.”

    Not if their new manager is already in the club and knows the ins-and-outs of the league already. There’s plenty of evidence that Mike Petke is on the short list for the head coaching gig. If that’s the case, and if Roxburgh is serious about elevating Petke to that spot, then these moves make much more sense.

    Either way, these moves are not bad for NYRB. Espindola will had the work rate they need up top, and Olave will be a rock in defense. My only two concerns would be how Fabi meshes with Henry’s style seeing as how the latter has expressed concern over Cooper’s play style; and if Olave can remain healthy enough for RB’s to not have to constantly dig into their reserves for the CB position. It’s a gamble, for sure, but isn’t it always?

    • Steve Davis - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Sure, we can debate the merits of the trade. That’s certainly fair enough. I’m just suggesting that this has some appearance of cart-before-horse. (Yes, Petke’s hiring would paint a different picture, but I know they are interviewing elsewhere, as well)

      • joeyt360 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        For what it’s worth, same thing ended up happening in DC, with Ben Olsen acting ‘in lieu of a Head Coach” for some moves, and then actually becoming that Head Coach.

  2. danielofthedale - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I think this means both Le Toux and Cooper will both be gone. I think Le Toux was gone any way. He is out of contract I believe and said if he stayed in MLS he wanted to go back to Philly.

    I think bring in Espindola means that Cooper is now on his way out too. I don’t get that move though. Cooper just put up a great season, a season that I don’t Espindola has enjoyed in MLS. I think the Red Bull front line got a bit worse and some team is going to get a little better by adding Cooper.

  3. Scott - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    If the set-up at NYRB is the front office procures the talent and sets the style of play with the coach signed onto that, all fine and dandy and the moves can go forth. This could end up a repeat of IMFC and Marsch where they hire a boss that isn’t a good fit with the FO’s philosophy of play despite being more attuned to how MLS operates.

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