Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up, and the Week Ahead

OK, as the weekend comes to a close, we wanted to point out a few more looks back at the weekend. If you haven't gotten enough photos of the Grand Opening, be sure to take a look at these shots from First Row Photos and also these, courtesy of Shawn Francis at MLS Insider. The New York Times print edition had a nice piece from George Vescey in Sunday's sports section. There was also  another nice batch of photos from the Star-Ledger. "Der Kaiser" and former Cosmos great, Franz Beckenbauer, a guest of honor at last night's game, shares his impressions of Red Bull Arena. Finally, there is a great time-lapse of the construction of Red Bull Arena.  Who knew they could build a cathedral in 2 minutes 42 seconds?

Now, looking ahead to this week. After reaching an agreement on the Collective Bargaining Agreement on Saturday morning, we know that the season will start as scheduled, with the MLS First Kick game taking place this Thursday night. The game will feature expansion team and new local rival, Philadelphia Union, taking on the Seattle Sounders at 9:30 ET, broadcast live from Qwest Field on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

The game we're all focused on, though, comes Saturday night at 7:00pm, as our new-look Red Bulls aim to keep their pre-season momentum against the Chicago Fire at The Cathedral of Football. There are some questions about our roster that will need to be straightened out during the week.

First, some basic questions about the new CBA will need to be answered sooner rather than later, specifically questions about the roster limitations. Rumours, in the form of tweets from Steven Goff of the Washington Post, have the rosters remaining at 24, with the "developmental" category being scrapped. As of Saturday, we had 23 on our active roster and 3 on our injured list. This means that, at least until Kevin Goldthwaite and Chris Albright heal up, we have one empty slot on our roster. The catch is that the Red Bulls have two players training with team who have not signed deals: Red Bulls Academy phenom Juan Agudelo and Ghanaian trialist Ibrahim Salou.

If both Agudelo and Salou come to terms with the team, someone currently on our roster will have to be cut. Which player currently with the club do you believe will not be here come Saturday? Is Salou just cover in case the Agudelo deal falls through? With the off-season additions of Joel Lindpere and Carl Robinson, is Seth Stammler the odd man out? He did not even leave the bench to warm up against Santos.  What about Ernst Oebster? Or will one of our draft picks contracts be short-lived? Influencing the decision will surely be the new rules regarding guaranteed contracts - who qualifies and whether the salary of a cut player will count against a team's cap.

Both Robinson and Dane Richards came off of the pitch Saturday night with knocks, to be re-evaluated on Monday. How does the starting XI change if either or both are not available?

Share your thoughts. We want to hear from you.
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