Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Bulls Fire Williams and McAleenan

According to the Washington Post's Steven Goff, the Red Bulls fired Assistant Coach Richie Williams and Goalkeeping Coach Des McAleenan this afternoon for "repeated violation of club rules."  Quite what that means is anyone's guess, but Goff implies that it may have something to do with punctuality. The immediate sacking of Williams and McAleenan, who had been with the organization for six and nine years, respectively, comes from completely out of the blue. There had not been any indication recently that either man's position with the club was in question or under threat, but clearly something has been happening behind the scenes.  Exactly what that might be will hopefully become clear in the coming days.

Williams served an interim manager for the Red Bulls on two occasions, most recently filling in for Juan Carlos Osorio at the end of the disastrous 2009 season. He has been linked on numerous occasions with a move elsewhere in MLS, most notably back to his former club DC United, but nothing ever materialized and he seemed to settle in well with the new regime of Erik Solér and Hans Backe when they assumed control at the start of last season. He played an integral role in RBNY's successful 2010 draft and was widely credited with helping the Scandinavians become accustomed to MLS' quirks and particularities. Williams and McAleenan are pictured above, along with Solér and Backe, just prior to the Grand Opening of Red Bull Arena.

For his part, McAleenan has been one of the very few constants at the club over the past decade and is highly regarded for his skill in working with MetroStars and Red Bulls goalkeepers, including Tim Howard and Bouna Condoul.

Needless to say, the timing of this announcement could not be worse.  The Red Bulls are just arriving at the business end of the preseason and starting to gear up for the season opener on March 19 against Seattle.  With questions hanging over the fitness of the team's corps of strikers, the last thing anyone needed was this sort of distraction.
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