Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Red Bulls Start 2012 Preseason on a Winning Note

Coop Didn't Take Long to Get His First
The New York Red Bulls prevailed in the first of their 2012 preseason friendly matches, defeating FC Dallas 2-0, thanks to a first half goal by Kenny Cooper and a late penalty from Corey Hertzog. Despite Dallas striking the woodwork three times, RBNY goalkeepers Ryan Meara and Jeremy Vuolo combined to keep a clean sheet. Interestingly, Rafa Marquez was given the captain's armband, with Thierry Henry still away on loan with Arsenal. (Don't ask about the t-shirts the players wore - I have no idea.)

This early in preseason, it's rare to see teams give players more than 45 minutes, especially in a hot climate such as Cancun. Hans Backe used what was more or less a best available XI in the first half, minus of course some major pieces, including Henry, Luke Rodgers, Juan Agudelo and Wilman Conde. After the break, a team composed of mostly reserve players and trialists took the pitch. All in all, it was a positive first effort for the Red Bulls, though the lack of video makes it difficult to judge.

In other Red Bulls news:
  • Arsenal would like to extend Thierry Henry's stay in London slightly longer, until the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur. Erik Solér has said repeatedly that he does not anticipate an extension of the Henry loan agreement, but if TH14 (TH12?) insists, will RBNY compel him to return? That seems unlikely.
  • If you haven't yet had a chance to listen to Solér's appearance on the February 6 edition of MLS Extra Time Radio, it's well worth your time. The relevant bit starts at about the 22 minute mark, and includes updates on the Luke Rodgers visa situation (one or two more weeks), Henry's loan spell at Arsenal, new additions such as Conde and Victor Pálsson (whose signing is imminent), the goalkeeping position and a third designated player.
  • Part of the club's 2012 marketing campaign will involve closer tie-ins between the Red Bull energy drink marketing and Red Bull New York (at least that's what Chris Heck suggested recently on Seeing Red!) You can get a taste of how the soccer team is being tied into Red Bull TV advertising here, and a look at new drink packaging featuring Thierry Henry and RBNY's "Stampede" theme here. Will there be greater visibility on billboards and public transportation as well? We'll see.
  • Are the Red Bulls pursuing a third young American keeper? On Monday, Steven Goff of the Washington Post suggested that they might be after Luis Robles of Karlsruher SC. Robles, who was drafted in 2005 by DC United, but elected instead to pursue opportunities overseas, had a strong start in Germany with Kaiserslautern, but has played only sporadically since moving to Karlsruhe in the Bundesliga II. It's hard to see what Robles might provide that the Red Bulls don't already have with Meara and Vuolo. Moreover, since he has one USMNT cap to his name, getting Robles might require the Red Bulls to jump to the head of MLS' notorious allocation order. The cost wouldn't seem to be worth it.
  • Have you ever wondered how everyone's favorite Estonian, Joel Lindpere, manages to maintain his George Hamilton-like tan? Dax McCarty, Matt Kassel and Stephen Keel fill us in.

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