Thursday, March 31, 2011

RBNY Notes: Fives, Tens, MSG and the Return of Bouna Time

Ballouchy Could Have Some Competition
As RBNY gears up for its second home match of the year, Saturday against Houston Dynamo, there is quite a bit of midweek news to report - most of it good - so let's get at it...
  • Earlier today, the Red Bulls finally announced an extension of their television deal with MSG, something that had been expected for weeks but was delayed as the details were nailed down and teams of lawyers pored over the fine print. According to Adweek, the deal will run for three years. More importantly, MSG has committed to being more aggressive in the way it promotes RBNY, adding pre- and post-game shows for nearly all matches and plugging broadcasts during Knicks and Rangers games. The Post's Brian Lewis also reports that the Red Bulls' broadcast team of Steve Cangialosi and Shep Messing will travel to broadcast all but four of the team's away games this season, which should enhance the experience. It's been a long time coming, but this sounds like a very positive deal for the club.
  • Before we get to the on-the-field stuff, Managing Director Erik Stover made good on his "make good" promise today when he announced that all members would have a $5 credit loaded onto each of their member cards prior to Saturday's match, to compensate them for the concessions mess against Seattle. The question, of course, is whether the Arena staff will know what to do when they are handed member cards as payment this weekend. But let's be honest - free money is free money and $5 is a hell of a lot better than nothing. So well done to Stover and let's hold our breath that everything goes more smoothly on Saturday.
  • On the pitch, Thierry Henry looks likely to start again against Houston after recovering from a hamstring injury. Greg Sutton, on the other hand, will miss Saturday's game as he continues to rebound from a concussion suffered in training. Better to go slow with Sutton, especially now that Bouna Condoul is back from international duty. Condoul says he is still in the dark about whether or not he will get the call against Houston, but it's hard to see how Hans Backe has any choice but to reinstate Bouna Time, at least for this match.
  • Finally, the Red Bulls appear to be closing in on a new #10. Erik Solér and Hans Backe are, according to reports, in the midst of pursuing several "non-DP" attacking midfield targets and hope to get something done before April 15. It's become abundantly clear through the first few weeks of the season that Mehdi Ballouchy is ill-suited to the role of midfield general and that an upgrade at that position is sorely needed. I'd love to see RBNY pursuing a player such as Toronto FC's "unsettled" Dwayne De Rosario, but I won't hold my breath. I suspect that the targets are all a bit more modest in stature and skill. When pushed for more information, Solér did reveal that none of the players being considered were Nordic in origin.

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