Skip to content

Questions to answer in MLS preseason camp: New York Red Bulls

Jan 24, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT

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

(Through the week we’ll look at three Major League Soccer clubs per day, considering what they need to accomplish and what questions deserve answers during preseason training camps. Opening day in MLS is March 2.)

The New York Red Bulls are one of Major League Soccer’s most storied franchises. And by storied, I mean there sure are a lot of stories about the squad, most of them negative. It’s been a, um, tumultuous off-season in Harrison, New Jersey, with the parent company jetting in from Austria, cleaning house, and generally shaking things up in the most dramatic way possible. Plenty of faces from last year’s up and down and down again season are out, replaced by new men hoping they can play with Thierry Henry and a new manager hoping to simply control the mercurial Frenchman.

This isn’t necessarily a make or break year for the Red Bulls, but it’s starting to feel like that a little bit. Or perhaps that’s just the smell of desperation wafting out of that beautiful space-age bubble just off NJ Transit. Onward we move, to three questions that will make all the difference in 2013.

  • Is Mike Petke the answer as coach?

After attempting to hire people including Gary McAllister, Paulo Sousa, Fonzie, and Aladdin, the new management settled on interim manager Petke, the club’s all-time leader in games played with 169. Although he has exactly zero head coaching experience, he served under Hans Backe as an assistant last season and knows the team. (Plus, he’s one of five new MLS head coaches in the league this year who have never been in charge of an MLS team. Can you say “fresh blood”?) Petke’s success or failure likely depends upon his relationship with Henry, who can be a consummate teammate or a consummate jerk or both in the span of 15 seconds, and who controls the locker room with his presence. It’s a nearly impossible task for any coach, but it will be interesting to see how the early days play out. Petke has the advantage of knowing and working with Henry, which should help, and he’s a better choice than the other options the ownership group tried to hire because he understands the league. But honestly, getting through to late-career Henry might be a bridge too far for any coach not named Wenger.

  • Does stability exist in Harrison?

15(!) players on the New York Red Bulls roster at the end of 2012 will not be back at the start of 2013, courtesy of MLSSoccer.com managing editor and all-around good guy Jonah Freedman. (Be nice, he’s a Lakers fan.) That’s an astonishing figure and it needs to stop. Do it once, get it done, then build again. The new-look Red Bulls need a bit of patience — not the easiest thing for a team that needs to win now. But the owners over in Austria need to understand that the best teams in MLS build from within. It’s not a quick-fix, throw-money-at-the-problem type of place. The organization has taken some strong steps with its youth system and hopefully those will start to pay off. And having money, as the Red Bulls clearly do, is never a bad thing. But it’s not the only thing. 2013 is for patience. (Yeah, right.) But let’s start with Petke, the team’s 13th coach during a span in which no other team has had more than nine. Give the man a chance.

  • Is this finally the year?

They were one of the league’s best teams at points throughout the last two seasons. They have a strong base with Henry, Dax McCarty, a returning Ryan Meara, Heath Pearce, Connor Lade, etc. They have the money to go out and get another DP and/or some new players. The talent, as always, is there. But can the Red Bulls finally put together a complete season instead of just bits and pieces of one?

MORE in ProSoccerTalk’s preseason camp series:

Up Next: Philadelphia Union

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: Roberto Martinez bemoans Everton’s late collapse against Arsenal

    Aug 23, 2014, 3:14 PM EDT

    Aston Villa v Everton - Premier League Getty Images

    Martinez upset at last 10 minutes, as Everton let 2-0 lead slip at home to Arsenal.

  2. Bundesliga Wrap: Leverkusen stuns BVB, Hoffenheim cruises

    Aug 23, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT

    Germany Bundesliga Soccer AP

    Dortmund couldn’t find a goal, though castaway striker Julian Schieber netted twice for his new team as the Bundesliga roared into a new season.

  3. Saturday Premier League roundup: Chelsea win again, Arsenal fight back

    Aug 23, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT

    Diego Costa AP

    Gunners grab point at Everton, while Chelsea, West Ham and Swansea win.

  4. Everton 2-2 Arsenal: Late goals seals dramatic comeback for Gunners

    Aug 23, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Gunners come back from 2-0 down to bag crucial point at Everton.

  5. VIDEO: Palace manager “won’t be watching Match of the Day” after loss

    Aug 23, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT

    Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Crystal Palace is a club in turmoil, and caretaker manager Keith Millen says it’s unfair to the players.

  6. VIDEO: Mourinho hails Chelsea’s “complete control” half vs Leicester

    Aug 23, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Diego Costa AP

    The Blues boss says his team had to work for it, but ultimately dominated newly-promoted Leicester City on Saturday.

  7. WATCH LIVE – Goals from Coleman, Naismith has Everton ahead vs. Arsenal

    Aug 23, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

    Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Getty Images

    Gunners defend sloppily and Everton take full advantage. Watch the 2nd half live, here.

  8. Newly promoted Burnley battling, struggling to adapt to Premier League life

    Aug 23, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT

    Swansea City v Burnley - Premier League Getty Images

    Dyche: “We knew this would be a challenge, a difficult one, and we are enjoying the way the team are operating, but we need to get points on the board.”

  9. WATCH: Leverkusen scores fastest goal in Bundesliga history at BVB

    Aug 23, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

    Denmark Soccer Champions League AP

    Karim Bellarabi nutmegged Matthias Ginter and put Bayer Leverkusen into the record books nine seconds into the match at Dortmund.

  10. Watch Live: Everton vs. Arsenal (Lineups)

    Aug 23, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Getty Images

    Toffees and Gunners clash at Goodison as top four hopefuls collide. Watch live, here.

  11. Swansea City 1-0 Burnley: Dyer’s strike wins it for the Swans

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

    Dyer's goal was enough to sink Burnley. Getty Images

    Dyer’s solo strike the difference as brave Burnley fall at the Liberty.

  12. Crystal Palace 1-3 West Ham United: Sam’s Hammers score freely

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Three different Hammers netted for Sam Allardyce as West Ham rebounded from a loss to Spurs to win a London derby at Palace.

  13. Southampton 0-0 West Bromwich Albion: Stalemate at St. Mary’s

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:52 AM EDT

    Saints and Baggies battled it out in the sun at St. Mary's. Getty Images

    Saints, Baggies fail to score in closely fought encounter on the South Coast.

  14. Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City: Costa scores again, Hazard ensures win

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Diego Costa, Dean Hammond AP

    The Foxes were game, but Chelsea’s class shone through by the time 90 minutes were in the books.

  15. VIDEO: Alan Pardew gives happy dance to make Remy Cabella smile

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

    Alan Pardew AP

    The Newcastle boss went above and beyond the call of duty, putting on clown shoes for a moment on the sidelines.

  16. LIVE – Premier League half time roundup: Hammers ahead, Chelsea being held

    Aug 23, 2014, 10:55 AM EDT

    Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Four games on the go, but goals are scarce. Watch them all live, here.

  17. Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle: Guzan saves a point as Villa moves top

    Aug 23, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT

    Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    American goalkeeper Brad Guzan helped Aston Villa stay unbeaten by keeping Newcastle at bay in a scoreless draw at Villa Park.

  18. Watch live: Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United (Lineups)

    Aug 23, 2014, 9:36 AM EDT

    Marouane Chamakh, Cameron Jerome AP

    West Ham’s second London derby in as many weeks provides a chance at win No. 1.

  19. Watch Live: Swansea City vs. Burnley (Lineups)

    Aug 23, 2014, 9:27 AM EDT

    Monk Getty Images

    Can the Swans sweep aside new boys Burnley? Watch live, right here.

  20. Watch Live: Southampton vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups)

    Aug 23, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

    Southampton v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    Both teams go in search of their first victory of the season. Watch live, here.

Featured video

Week 2: Saturday PL preview