Category Archives: New York Red Bulls

Is it Time For Hans Backe to Go?


Sure the NY Red Bulls are better than they were before Hans Backe’s arrival in 2009, but at what point do the Red Bulls decide to part ways with the underachieving manager? For all of the big money the team has spent on big names, New York hasn’t accomplished anything in its history. Take a look at the names.Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel, Rafa Marquez, Tim Cahill, Dwayne De Rosario, Juan Agudelo. I can go on and on. There are a ton of reasons why he should get the boot.

After finishing the regular season atop the Eastern Conference in 2010, Backe’s team failed to even make it past the first round of the playoffs after losing disgracefully to the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena. A year later, the team fell completely apart mid-season and barely made the playoffs after defeating FC Dallas in a wildcard match. They then proceeded to lose to the Galaxy in the next round. Of course the coach blamed the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the struggles of the Red Bulls as players were away from the team to play for their countries.

Speaking of CONCACAF, Backe has failed to make the Champions League the past two seasons. He notably benched his entire starting team last season against the Chicago Fire in a US Open Cup game that would have put NY in good position in the tournament. He took a lot of criticism after basically admitting that he didn’t care about the US Open Cup.

If you look past the disappointing results the past two seasons, you should take a look at the way the Red Bulls play. We all know the Swedish and former Notts County manager wants to bring a European style to the MLS. The Austrian owned Red Bull organization seems to think every European is the way to go. From the players they have brought in like Victor Palsson, Markus Holgersson, Brian Nielson, Joel Lindpere, Jan Gunnar Solli, and Frank Rost. Backe and his European buddies seem to be infatuated with bringing mediocre European players to the MLS.

Here is something the organization should begin to realize. All of that stuff doesn’t work in America. You can try to play the European style all you want, but if you don’t have the quality it won’t work. Why must we cut young and promising American players like Matt Kassel and Sacir Hot? Why do we give away talent every year including players like Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Mac Khanji, Juan Agudelo, Dwayne De Rosario, Mike Magee, Jeff Parke, and a whole list of quality players. The American game, with no disrespect, is not the same game as it is in Europe. MLS is a lot more physical game but it is less technical than other leagues around the world. It is difficult for European players to adjust. Just ask Thierry Henry who struggled when he first arrived in New York. Backe has to either adjust his style to the American game or continue struggling week in and week out vs. MLS-savy coaches like Sigi Schmidt and Dom Kinnear. Sure the MLS style is not as flashy or technical as the EPL or La Liga or Serie A, but the MLS has its own unique characteristics that make it what it is.

I don’t know if it is just me, but does anyone out there see what I see when I watch the Red Bulls play? Backe’s style eliminates the midfield and forces the defenders to do the playmaking. We often see no movement off the ball, no runs being made, and futile long ball attempts which result in a loss of possession. I cannot believe Backe doesn’t see this. Holgersson and Conde should not be linking up with the forwards and setting up goal opportunities. Roy Miller should not be responsible for providing service to Henry. That is the job of the midfield. No other MLS team has their defense pass and and have as many touches as the Red Bulls do. Tim Ream once led the team in passing last season. This should not happen.

Besides his unintelligent tactics, Backe is also questionable when it comes to forming the lineup. He constantly changes the lineup every week and prevents any chemistry from being made with players. The organization as a whole is guilty of changing the roster from year to year. Just this week they got rid of Mehdi Ballouchy after trading Dane Richards for Sebastien Le Toux earlier this season. Hans is also notorious for making bad subs or no subs at all.

How much longer do we have to see this flat team underperform while having the best roster on paper. Surely any other quality MLS coach would be unstoppable with the roster Backe has. Imagine Sigi Schmidt had Henry, Cahill, and Cooper at his disposal. Sigi has done nothing but win wherever he goes, even without a team of well-known players.

It might just be time for New York to find a new coach. Backe should not be back if this talented roster does not win the MLS Cup this year. It is not too much to expect this season with the rest of the MLS containing mediocre teams. No excuses. It is championship or bust. If it is a bust, the Red Bulls must make changes and look at MLS coaches to take over, not European ones who are unfamiliar with the American game.

We will see what happens as the playoffs approach.


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Tim Cahill Arrives in New York, Makes Red Bulls Championship Contenders


Seemingly out of nowhere the New York Red Bulls landed Everton attacking midfielder Tim Cahill for a reported fee of $1.5 million. The 32-year old Australian international is New York’s third Designated Player along with Thierry Henry, and Rafa Marquez and he is already thinking championship for the team as he joins his new teammates at practice in New Jersey.

Cahill spent eight seasons at Everton where he scored 68 goals in 278 appearances, where he made a name for himself after his move from Millwall. The attacking midfielder also represented his country at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup, scoring 24 goals in 55 caps for Australia.

Cahill brings great attacking skill to the midfield, while adding to the offensive firepower with strikers like Henry, Cooper, and Le Toux. The Aussie will play just behind the two strikers, allowing Henry to stay up front instead of tracking back to receive the ball. Along with Cahill, the Red Bull midfield will include the resurgent Dax McCarty in a defensive midfield position, Le Toux wide on the right flank, and Joel Lindpere on the left. It is to be seen whether Marquez will be traded or remain in the starting lineup for Hans Backe.

With a potent offense with the likes of Henry, Cahill, Cooper, Le Toux, and Lindpere, it is now up to New York’s defense to perform. The team will score plenty of goals but the leaky defense will have to hold up and key players like Wilman Conde and Heath Pearce need to stay healthy and contribute.

Just think of this 4-4-2 starting lineup:

Goalkeeper: Ryan Meara

Defenders: Jan Gunnar Solli, Wilman Conde, Heath Pearce, Roy Miller

Midfielders: Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Sebastien Le Toux, Joel Lindpere

Forwards: Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper

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Thierry Henry’s Highlight Goal Lifts NY Red Bulls Past Chicago Fire

On a blistering summer day in which temperatures reached triple digits, Thierry Henry helped the New York Red Bulls put out the Fire in front of 15,814 spectators at Red Bull Arena. The intense heat was not enough to stop Henry from making his mark on the game. After missing six games with injury, the Frenchman got back on track when he settled a Sebastien Le Toux cross and fired a left-footed blast past goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the 71st minute. It was Henry’s 10th goal of the season and his first since scoring  April 28 against New England.

The stunning goal was all New York needed as they dominated from start to finish while enjoying 61% possession and managing four shots on goal against Chicago. The suspect defense of the Red Bulls held firm today to preserve a shutout for goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, just the fourth time this year that New York did not allow a goal in MLS play. The win breaks a three-game winless streak and propels the team into second place, just one point behind Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference.

New York’s next opponent will be the Philadelphia Union who come into the game coming off a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Impact. Henry and Company will look to build on today’s game and make it two wins in a row against their bitter rival.

Seeing Henry’s goal in person was amazing. It was the goal of a world-class player who knows how to finish in difficult positions. Other than Henry’s spectacular performance, several other Red Bull players impressed. Mehdi Ballouchy was a stabilizing force in the center of midfield, linking up with Le Toux and Henry. Wilman Conde was solid in the center of defense and played a big role in preserving the shutout. Substitute Connor Lade also impressed, bringing a great deal of energy to the team on a scorching day. His tireless work ethic and blazing speed helped set up New York’s goal and ultimately provided the spark that the team needed. Overall, a very good game for the Red Bulls who needed a win today. They dominated for most of the game, created many chances, and they finally played well enough in defense to win a game. Hopefully Henry has more in store for next game when the team faces the Philadelphia Union.

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by | July 18, 2012 · 6:32 PM

NY Cosmos Set to Return to NASL, Eye Entry Into MLS


Nearly 30 years after the New York Cosmos and the North American Soccer League disbanded, both the team and the historic league will reunite and bring soccer back to New York City. It was announced Thursday that the Cosmos will participate in the re-branded North American Soccer League, which is now the second division of American Soccer. The league lies just below Major League Soccer and is currently comprised of eight teams across North America. New York will join in 2013 along with the expansion Ottawa franchise.

The Cosmos will play an official game for the first time since 1984, led by sporting director Eric Cantona. While the the home venue has not been made official, it is believed that the team will play at James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University. The 15,000-seat stadium is a familiar home to the Cosmos who played their during the 1972 and 1973 seasons.

The news of New York joining NASL for the 2013 season brings up a very interesting question: what does this mean for New York’s chances of landing an MLS franchise in the future? MLS commissioner Don Garber hinted that the Big Apple will still be in consideration as an expansion team despite the Cosmos participating in the second division. Garber has insisted that having two New York/Metropolitan MLS franchises would be of great interest to the league, and plans are in place to build a soccer stadium in Corona Park in Flushing, NY. Whether or not the Cosmos will be the team playing in the stadium is uncertain.

The 2013 NASL season will surely draw a lot of interest as the league has no salary cap. No salary cap + the New York Cosmos = $$$$. Who knows, maybe we might see the star-studded Cosmos from the days of Pele.

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New York City Getting a New Sports Franchise?

The Big Apple might just be home to yet another professional sports team. According to the Wall Street Journal, Corona Park in Flushing, Queens is being proposed as the site for a future Major League Soccer stadium.

MLS commissioner Don Garber has approached NYC about building a 20,000-25,000 seat soccer-specific stadium in the middle of Corona Park, just a short walk from Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium. The project is being privately financed by the MLS and is not currently associated with any team as the rights to the franchise will be sold to the highest bidder.

The stadium will first need to get by a City Council vote before the league can break ground on the site. It is expected to take about one to two years to construct barring any legal issues.

If all turns out the way MLS hopes, New York City will finally get their own soccer team to rival the NY Red Bulls who are actually based in Harrison, New Jersey.

As a soccer fan living in NYC, I have been waiting for this day for a very long time. Sure we have the Red Bulls to root for, but now we finally have our own team in our own city. No longer will New Yorkers have to travel to New Jersey to root on their “home team”. This is great news not only for New York soccer fans, but for American soccer as a whole.  The rivalry between both teams will draw a lot of interest and generate a great deal of media attention for MLS in the media capital of the world. The only way for soccer to gain more popularity in this country is for the sport to be talked about in a city like New York. Who knows; maybe we’ll even see the return of the legendary New York Cosmos!

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