Friday, February 10, 2012

Pálsson Signing Official & Other Red Bulls Notes

Pálsson (#44): The Newest Viking
The New York Red Bulls made the signing of Icelandic international Victor Pálsson official today, confirming the player's recent comments on his Twitter account that he had put pen to paper on a two year agreement. Pálsson, a rangy, physical player a bit in the style of Tony Tchani, joins a crowd of holding midfielders that includes Rafa Marquez and Teemu Tainio. Given Tainio's occasional injury struggles and the likelihood that Marquez may be called up to the Mexican National Team, it makes sense for Hans Backe to have a third option at the position - or potentially a second option, should he decide to play with a pair of holding players.

Pálsson comes to the Red Bulls from Scottish club Hibernian, where he had some success initially before getting left out in the cold when a new manager arrived. He was also formerly part of Liverpool's youth system, where he was - according to Sports Illustrated's Jen Chang - widely considered one of the more talented prospects of the Rafa Benitez era. With Pálsson now under contract, the Red Bulls' quest to sign a player from every Nordic country is nearly complete. If anyone knows of a decent Faroese goalkeeper, please forward his name to Hans Backe and Erik Soler, c/o New York Red Bulls, Harrison, NJ. Of course if (when) Brian Nielsen departs, the club will have to start searching for a token Dane (and no, Dane Richards doesn't count). 

Before the Red Bulls take on FC Merida of Mexico's second division tomorrow, there's a bit more news to report:
  • Trialist Chris Konopka, who, as a pool goalkeeper, found himself between the pipes last season when the Red Bulls played Chicago Fire at home, has been released by RBNY and was immediately snatched up by Philadelphia Union, who suddenly found themselves short of goalkeeping options in the wake of Faryd Mondragon's departure. I discussed Konopka with Union blog The Brotherly Game. In addition to Konopka, the club released trialist Raymond Yeboah.
  • Hans Backe likes the look of the squad as it gets ready to head back to the States for the next phase of preseason training. According to Backe, five of the current trialists - we assume Jhonny Arteaga, Jose Angulo, Giorgi Chirgadze, Brandon Barklage and Ryan Maduro - will be with the team during the next leg of training in Arizona. With RBNY still well under the maximum of 30 players, all five could conceivably be signed, though it's unlikely that the club would see fit to carry eight or nine strikers. The final decision may well be contingent on the status of Luke Rodgers. If he fails to get a visa - which is still a possibility - the Red Bulls' need for new attacking options increases.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post is reporting that the Red Bulls will face Tottenham Hotspur this summer in a friendly match at Red Bull Arena, to be included as part of season ticket holder package. This won't be the first appearance at RBA for Spurs. They won the 2010 Barclays Challenge tournament, defeating RBNY 2-1 on the way to the trophy.
  • Simon Borg is certifiably insane. (Did I say "news"?)
That's all for now. Have a great weekend. For those of you attending the partial plan event at the Cathedral of Football on Saturday, you may want to bring a jacket.
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