Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Ice Breaks: Red Bulls Sign Three, Petke Joins Front Office

On a day when yet another shit ton of snow fell on the greater New York area, the ice dam that was the Red Bulls offseason finally began to break.  Speaking with reporters ahead of the 2011 Superdraft (being held tomorrow in DC United's soon-to-be hometown of Baltimore), Red Bulls GM Erik Solér confirmed that the club has in fact added English speedster Luke Rodgers and Norwegian midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli to the roster for the upcoming season.  Rodgers spoke to Sky Sports in England yesterday about his American adventure and his checkered past.  I know there's been a lot of skepticism about this signing, but I think he may pleasantly surprise a few people. Maybe some of his grit and guts will rub off on a guy like Mehdi Ballouchy.  Of course I could also be totally wrong, so don't hold me to it.

More surprising, perhaps, was the announcement that the club has signed Brazilian winger Marcos Paullo, who, you may remember, had a cup of coffee with the team last season and played ever so briefly in the friendly victory over Manchester City.  Paullo comes from Atletico Paranaense.  Reports from training last year were positive, and he's only 20 years old, so this looks like another positive move that injects more youth into the squad.

Speaking of youth, Solér also addressed RBNY's draft philosophy, including the Matt Kassel signing, which is still pending, assuming that the league and Kassel's representatives can iron out the contract details.  Solér is hoping to strengthen both the fullback and center back positions tomorrow, but will look to the best player available if his targets are taken by the time the Red Bulls select at #13.  The Post's Brian Lewis has also indicated that the Red Bulls might be willing to trade up.  With rumors flying that some teams near the top might be willing to drop down and the Red Bulls holding a lot of cards in terms of both later round picks, players and money, tomorrow could be very interesting.  It's a shame we can't be there in person to peacefully interact with the lovely people from DC and tell Philly Union fans what we think of their new shirt sponsor.

A  few more roster notes:
  • Those people clamoring for a third designated player to replace Juan Pablo Angel will have to wait.  Solér made it clear that RBNY has no current plans to add such a player, though he did not rule out the addition of another superstar later in the season, should the need and/or opportunity arise.
  • Solér even mentioned that he would like to bring another goalkeeper (or two), though not via the Superdraft.  Bouna Condoul had a great season, but certain aspects of his game leave something to be desired.
The Red Bulls' pre-season schedule also seems to be shaping up, with training camps planned in Mexico and Arizona beginning in February.  Are we seeing the influence of Rafa Marquez at work?  Perhaps.  Hopefully we'll see some quality pre-season opposition in the form of FMF opponents.

Finally, Mike Petke has joined the Red Bulls front office in the dual role of "Individual Development Coach" and "Business Operations Manager."  I don't think anyone is hugely surprised to see Mikey coming back, but it's welcome news nonetheless.  It's good to see RBNY keeping guys like John Wolyniec and Petke in the fold.  All part of continuing to build a culture and an identity.
blog comments powered by Disqus