Friday, March 30, 2012


No Beatles Here, But There IS a Barklage
As the Red Bulls head into their second home game, the second SUB WATCH post also goes live—and things have never been livelier for Coach Hans Backe’s bench. Yes, there’s been a minor pulling back on the reins, but the subbing is still more aggressive than any fans thought possible in February. As always, SUB WATCH is provided solely for informational purposes! Wager at your own risk.

The game against Colorado saw two tactical subs from the Red Bulls. It was no surprise that the first in the 85th minute featured a personal hero of mine, Mehdi Ballouchy, for the oddly ineffective Joel Lindpere. Backe’s faith in New York’s No. 10 was well founded as he combined with fan favorite Roy Miller and Thierry Henry to produce a late (own) goal via KFC. This is 3 appearances for Mehdi in 3 games, making him the smart money for most subs over the season—but you’re going to have to lay down some tall cash to get a healthy return. There’s always a chance that a mid-season dry spell will improve the odds, but there’s no guarantee here. HOLD

Another milestone in SUB WATCH history occurred last Sunday when Brandon Barklage (WHO???) was sent on in the 89th minute to replace a tired Dane Richards. Like many of you, I first thought that it was simply Joel Lindpere back on the pitch in a fake jersey to fool the officials, but research suggests that Mr. Barklage may actually exist. Thanks to RBNY's crack marketing team, you can use his official Red Bulls photo to identify him at Saturday's game:
This unknown’s appearance on the pitch was certainly a surprise to Vegas. My sources tell me some lucky punters were able to get odds as high as +1000! Now that he’s on the radar screen, those numbers will drop, but so early in the season he is still a great option. BUY

The season over/under is now 70.2' which would seem to make the Over a good bet against lowly Montreal. Note that the successful play against the Rapids drove down the subs per game average to 2.33

It’s best to have at least 5 games under the belt before laying down cash on individual players, but due to overwhelming reader demands (i.e. one comment) SUB WATCH offers the following perspective on what maylie ahead. We’re relatively confident that Keel and Palsson will see sub action soon as Backe loves “veteran” players, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the players who have not yet seen the field for RBNY:

Connor Lade—Fans and media agree Lade’s strong pre-season performance has continued in practice. While Backe has never bowed to outside pressure, we may just see the diminutive defender come on for Roy Miller after one too many backheels. STRONG BUY

Jhonny Arteaga—What’s up with that random “h”? SELL

Jeremy Vuolo—A very rare rookie v rookie situation in RBNY pits American’s next Top Goalkeeper Ryan Meara against Vuolo, who also impressed in the pre-season. Everything suggests Meara has the position locked up—and that would be accurate—but don’t overlook the risk that his aggressive patrolling of the 6-yard box could lead to injury. That said, Vuolo’s odds may be no better than “the field” when you consider Backe’s history with the MLS player pool. HOLD

Jose AnguloBUY—wait… not “Juan Agudelo?” SELL

Hope you enjoyed another scintillating edition of SUB WATCH. See you in the 89th minute!
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