Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday RBNY Round-Up

It's been a fairly quiet week for the Red Bulls as they continue training in the heat and humidity of Florida. We re-capped the pair of games against Chicago Fire on Thursday. RBNY will take the field again against the newly re-branded Fort Lauderdale Strikers (formerly Miami FC) at Lockhart Stadium, on Saturday at 2:30pm EST. For any Red Bulls fans who live or happen to find themselves in the area, the game is free and open to the public. It will also be streamed live at the RBNY website. I'm hoping the Strikers run out in their iconic red and gold hoops - one of the truly classic shirts in US soccer history.

One player who did not take part in the matches on Wednesday and who will not be featuring on Saturday is Billy Cortes, the defender/midfielder from the University of Maryland who the Red Bulls selected in the third round of the 2011 Superdraft. He was cut yesterday by the team. Cortes was expected to provide some competition for Chris Albright at the right back spot, so his departure could mean that the Teemu Tainio signing is imminent. The Finn has looked sharp in his appearances so far. Stay tuned.

There are also questions about whether lanky striker Salou Ibrahim (above) will be back in New York this season. Kristian Dyer says his fate is up in the air as we get closer to roster compliance day. Ibrahim looked off the pace and disinterested in his reserve appearance against Chicago this week. If he can't stamp his authority on a game against a team full of kids, scrubs and trialists, that's not a good sign for his future. The Red Bulls could save a bundle in salary room by cutting him. Salou is expected to earn more than $250,000 this season.

A few other general items:
  • If you haven't yet, I would highly recommend you read Brian Straus' AOL Fanhouse interview with The Commish, Don Garber. They discuss the new MLS playoff format, the 2012 World Cup bid and a host of other matters. Garber doesn't duck any questions, but his answers may puzzle more people than they satisfy.
  • Speaking of the new playoff format, I was happy to contribute My Two Cents to Big Apple Soccer. A big thank you to Michael Lewis for letting me vent!
  • If you understand Spanish, check out ESPN Deportes' lengthy interview with Rafa Marquez. I'm told that he reveals that he had an offer on the table from Juventus when he decided to join the Red Bulls.

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