Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday News & Notes: Playoff Exit Hangover Edition

Red Bulls Fans May Have a Euro 2012 Rooting Interest After All
The 2011 MLS Cup final participants are now set following yesterday's conference finals, and for the first time in a number of years none of the lowest playoff seeds made it through to the championship. Whether that's the result of a slightly more equitable playoff format that punished poor regular season performance is anyone's guess. In any case, there appear to be big changes in store for MLS' league structure in 2012 that could very well impact the postseason format as well. If you don't like the MLS playoffs, just wait a year and they will change again.

Some additional (mostly) RBNY-focused notes:
  • The Red Bulls will have a number of big decisions to make over the winter, and my Once a Metro colleague Matt Coyne does a good job of identifying them in his latest blog post.
  • According to numerous reports in Estonian media, Joel Lindpere will join the Estonian national team, leading up to their Euro 2012 playoff showdown with the Republic of Ireland. The Galaxy's Robbie Keane will be lining up for Ireland, who are the clear favorites, but it would be great to see Lindpere and his countrymen shock the world and go through.
  • Neither Juan Agudelo nor Tim Ream was selected by Jurgen Klinsmann for the latest series of US Men's National Team friendlies. Given Ream's poor form in 2011 and Agudelo's lack of playing time for RBNY, it's hardly a surprise. Agudelo will, however, take part in the US U23 camp in Germany with new head coach Caleb Porter.
  • Former Red Bull Jozy Altidore finally seems to have found a home in Europe with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar (knock on wood). Here's a nifty little .gif of Jozy's latest goal (his 10th of the season), against ADO Den Haag - a fantastic give-and-go.
  • Red Bull Arena will host the Big East conference semifinals and final this weekend - the final soccer event in Harrison until the MLS season starts up again in March. The field is now complete, after UConn, St. John's, Louisville and Villanova won their quarterfinal matches on Sunday. On Friday the 11th, UConn will play Louisville at 5PM, while St. John's will square off against Villanova at 7:30PM. The winners will meet on the 13th. Rutgers will not be taking part, after their 3-1 loss to UConn ended in a brawl. For those interested in attending, tickets for Friday's doubleheader are just $10 and can be purchased here. I'll be there. Keep an eye out for Red Bull academy product and St. John's forward Walter Hines, who scored the winner on Sunday against West Virginia.
  • With Montreal Impact joining MLS next season, it's time to start thinking about which players will be included on the RBNY "protected list." Drew Epperley at does a solid job of predicting the Red Bulls' 11 selections.
  • The Daily Harrison reports that the long-awaited renovation of the outdated and cramped Harrison PATH station may finally be starting to move forward. The Port Authority has approved the purchase of several abandoned industrial buildings adjacent to the tracks, across Frank E. Rogers Blvd. from the current station entrance. Anyone who has tried to board the PATH after a game knows what a nightmare it can be, not to mention the impact on traffic in the immediate vicinity. Don't hold your breath for this project to be completed any time soon, but it's better than radio silence.
That's it for now. We'll try to keep you up to date with offseason news as we go through the winter and start preparing for 2012. Thanks for all your support and kind words about The Viper's Nest over the 2011 season. We greatly appreciate it!
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