Tag Archives: New York Red Bulls

Week 3 Power Rankings: Power Shifts West

Week 3 Power Rankings:

1. Seattle (3-0-0)- The Sounders continue to roll on the road at hostile BMO Field, even without wunderkind Fredy Montero.  As Freddie Ljungberg returns to form, this team could get even more dangerous.  The only question is whether they have the defensive depth to weather injuries.

2. Chivas USA (3-0-0)- The Goats are somehow managing to win games with an injury list that looks like a starting lineup.  They didn’t look overpowering against Columbus, but winning 3 of 3 is impressive for this league. Perhaps most importantly, they managed to score with Kljestan effectively taken out of the game.

3. Chicago (2-0-1)- As usual, the Fire are the early season class of the East.  Winning a 10-on-11 contest shows that this team has the resilience that last year’s lacked.  There is impressive offensive depth, with Rolfe and Blanco on the bench, but can the defense hold up over the course of the season?

4. New England (2-0-1)- Nipping at the heels of Chicago in the East.  Having to come from behind at home to beat Dallas is worrying, but you can’t argue with the results.  The next contests (DC and RSL) will be better tests of what this team can do.

5. Colorado (2-1-0)- So they can beat LA and Kansas City.  The big test for them will be at Columbus next week.  The Crew will be at home and fighting desperately to regain a shred of respect.  Colorado’s road win over LA was impressive, but most teams won’t give up the easy goals that the Rapids managed to poach.

6. Real Salt Lake (1-1-0)- Two ends of the spectrum from RSL.  Will this be like last season where they dominate at home and flounder on the road?  Benefited from some huge errors by Columbus, but still managed to beat the defending champs 4-1 (does that mean anything right now, though?).  Can Findley and Movsisyan keep it up?

7. Toronto FC (1-1-1)- Showed some flashes in the windy home loss to Seattle.  When will TFC find a consistent goal-scoring threat?  If the Reds can’t beat Dallas next week, John Carver will be in hot water up north.

8. DC United (1-0-2)- Less than impressive in a game where they had a man advantage at home against Houston.  Couldn’t create very much on offense until the end.  Circle the Eagles’ tie with RSL next week as the most potentially enlightening game of the week, as both are in a good position in the standings.

9. Kansas City (1-2-0)- Maybe the Wizards found the right defensive combination against San Jose?  2-0 over the Quakes is impressive, but they’re still one of the worst defensive teams in the East.  Can they be the first to keep Seattle out of the W column next week?

10. San Jose (1-2-0)- How can they score so little when they have so many experienced playmakers?  The Quakes can redeem an ugly road loss to KC at home against Chicago next week.  Paging Bobby Convey.

11. Houston (0-2-1)- The class of the winless ranks of MLS.  There’s plenty of fight in this team, they just haven’t been getting the bounces thus far.  The Dynamo no longer have a consistent midfield presence with D-Ro gone.  Cameron and Mullan are good at times, but neither is much of a revelation.

12. Columbus (0-2-2)- Showed some fight with 10 men against Chivas, but the injuries are mounting and this team doesn’t have the same confidence that it did last year.  Could Sigi Schmid have been the difference maker?  Even Guillermo Barros Schelotto looks off.  A home win against Colorado would be huge next week.

13. Los Angeles (0-1-1)- The talent is there, but it is horribly inconsistent.  Omar Gonzalez’s roller coaster performance perfectly exemplify this.  Can a 35 year-old 2.Bundesliga defender really improve the backline?  Does anyone really miss David Beckham?

14. New York (0-1-2)- The only consolation for The Red Bulls is that they aren’t the worst team in MLS.  However, Houston would seem to be ripe for a road upset.

15. FC Dallas (0-0-3)- There is no consolation for Dallas.  They let a 1-0 lead slip away at New England and now have to travel to Toronto.  Off-season improvements look like a waste at this point.

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MLS Weekly Review and Preview 9/2

First, a quick rundown of last week’s games:

Salt Lake 2-Colorado 0

Fabian Espindola made a big splash in his return from injury, scoring his 4th and 5th goals of the season to lead RSL to yet another home win.  Salt Lake continues to try to keep pace with streaking Houston, while Colorado is trying to find its groove under Interim Head Coach Gary Smith, who has lost both games he has presided over with that official title.  The Rapids were also hampered by injuries to Pablo Mastroeni and potentially England-bound midfielder Terry Cooke.  With the loss, Colorado relieved San Jose of the cellar spot in the West.

New England 2-Los Angeles 2

Taylor Twellman notched his 5th goal, but also went down after taking LA ‘keeper Steve Cronin’s hands to his head.  Landon Donovan picked up his 15th and 16th and Shalrie Joseph finally got his name into the scorebook for the season during a 2-2 draw.  The Revs, reeling from their CONCACAF Champions League loss to Joe Public FC of T&T and fighting depth issues, switching to a 4-4-1-1.  New England continues to slowly lose ground on Columbus for first in the East (and the league), while Bruce Arena’s LA is hanging on to MLS’ other playoff contenders by their fingernails.

DC 0-New York 0

A bore draw between two teams locked in stalemate in the East.  DC continues to draw games that it needs to win, while New York stays hot with a solid road draw.  Both teams are currently in good position for the playoffs, but New York is on their way up, while DC seems to be stagnating and in danger of heading downwards.

Dallas 1-Columbus 2

Just two weeks after defeating FC Dallas at Crew Stadium, the Canaries traveled to Dallas and picked up a valuable road win, pushing them two points ahead of New England.  Alejandro Moreno scored his team-leading 8th of the season and Eddie Gaven finally got his 1st on the year.  Dallas took the lead on a 35th minute Jeff Cunningham strike, but Columbus continues to prove that they play just as well, if not better from behind as they do from a tie or a lead.  With the loss, Dallas loses valuable ground in the West, falling to just two points out of the cellar.

San Jose 2-Kansas City 1

The red-hot ‘Quakes finally crawled out of the cellar for what seems like the first time since before the Expansion Draft.  Darren Huckerby’s arrival continues to lead the revival for San Jose, scoring the game-winner in the 83rd.  Arturo Alvarez scored in the 43rd, but Davy Arnaud equalized for the Wizards in the 64th.  With the loss, Kansas City continues their wallowing at the bottom of the East.

Chivas USA 2-Toronto 1

The struggles continue for media darling Toronto FC, despite acquiring Guatemalan International Carlos Ruiz, as Chivas picked up an injury time game-winner from Atiba Harris to secure the home win.  Jim Brennan opened the scoring for TFC, but Alecko Eskandarian tied the game up just 11 minutes later.  The game would stay tied for the next hour before Harris inserted the dagger.  Chivas climbs to the top of the West deadlock, now behind only Houston and Salt Lake, while Toronto remains tied for last in the East with Kansas City.

Houston 2-Chicago 1

Brian McBride scored his first goal in his return campaign to MLS, but it sparked a Dwayne De Rosario equalizer just a minute later, which was followed by Brian Mullan’s 3rd goal of the year, giving the Dynamo a lead they would not relinquish.  Although they lost defender Eddie Robinson to injury, Houston stays firmly ahead of RSL in the West with a 5-point lead.  Chicago continues to squander opportunities to overtake, or at least keep pace with New England.

CONCACAF Champions Leaue, US Open Cup and MLS Predictions

9/2: Champions League
New England 3-Joe Public 1 (NE 4-3 on PK’s) New England advances
Chivas USA 2-Tauro FC 1 Tauro FC advances

9/3 US Open Cup Final
DC United 2-Charleston Battery 1 DC wins 2nd US Open Cup

9/4 MLS League Play
FC Dallas 2-Colorado Rapids 0

9/6 MLS League Play
Toronto FC 1-Chivas USA 1
Columbus Crew 1-New England Revolution 2
Chicago Fire 2-New York Red Bulls 2
San Jose Earthquakes 2-DC United 0
Los Angeles Galaxy 2-Real Salt Lake 0

9/7 MLS League Play
Houston Dynamo 3-Kansas City Wizards 0

Red Bulls Sign 18 Year-old Gambian Sainey Touray

After having their bid for USL Atlanta Silverbacks forward Macoumba Kandji blocked by the MLS because their $200,000 would set a high precedent for pricing on USL players, the Red Bulls instead signed one-time Arsenal trialist Sainey Touray to a developmental contract.  Touray, a 6’1, 18 year-old forward, has played for his country’s U-17 and U-20 teams and led his Gambian First Division side, Wallidan FC, in goals last season with nine.

The pacy Touray, commonly known as ‘Ballack’ had been on trial for New York a week earlier.  Red Bulls Manager Juan Carlos Osorio is obviously getting a player who is at least his second choice though, as he commented that Touray has great physical ability and skills, but is very raw.  The Red Bulls may not need immediate help after all, though, as Mike Magee and Juan Pablo Angel’s goal-scoring have them on a hot streak that has seen them collect 10 of a possible 12 points in their last 4 games.

Breaking Down the MLS Expansion Race: Is There a Leader?

With the MLS looking to expand to at least 18 teams, possibly 20, their eight candidates have been scrambling to pursue staidum opportunities, develop a grassroots fan movement, and put together a pitch to sell their cities to the league.

While the league has talked about expanding beyond 18 teams, that is a risky proposal in the short term.  There really isn’t strong enough domestic talent in Canada or the US to support many more teams than are already in the league, and it will take 5 or 10 years for the talent pool to grow substantially stronger.  Seattle’s expansion squad will be a good benchmark as far as how much the league’s talent can continue to support growth.  With the international player limit relaxed and teams looking abroad more and more to fill their squads, MLS could very well become as international as the English Premier League (albeit at a lower level of competition). Player salaries are another issue.  As it stands, teams can hardly afford to pay their players competitive salaries.  MLS is way behind other American leagues in that regard, meaning the franchises themselves to focus on getting stronger before the league can think about expanding (strong rivalries and rabid fan support are a good way to make the sport more appealing).

Because MLS is expanding both the Western and Eastern conferences at the same rate, I’ll split up the candidate cities into their potential conferences to examine their chances at securing the right to pay MLS $40 million-$50 million for their franchise:

West

Las Vegas

Population: 559,000

The biggest advantage that Las Vegas has in the expansion race is the Las Vegas Sports and Entertainment Group’s $500 million support of a proposed team.  Additionally, the Las Vegas area is the fastest growing in the United States, and already has a population large enough to be considered a solid media market.  However, Las Vegas has tried for years to lure NBA, MLB, and NHL franchises with no success.  Las Vegas does not have a stadium ready for an MLS team, nor does it seem like a particularly desirable market for the league, given its reputation.  Finally, Las Vegas would have no natural, geographic rivals stranded in the desert as it is.  LA is the closest MLS cities (4 hour drive), but there is already a strong derby in LA with the SuperClasico.  Salt Lake City is 6 hours away and has a budding rivalry with Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Cup.

Portland

Population: 550,000

Portland has a strong soccer presence already with the USL’s Portland Timbers (in addition to a great supporters group, the Timber Army).  The Timbers currently play in downtown PGE Park, a minor league baseball and college football stadium.  Merritt Paulson, owner of the Portland Beavers baseball team and leader of the Portland expansion project plans to revamp PGE Park for the MLS team, move the Beavers to a new suburban stadium, and allow Portland State to use PGE for football.  PGE is an intimate venue and has excellent location in downtown Portland.  As far as marketability is concerned, Portland is a large market, Seattle is nearby as a natural rival (the Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders rivalry is one of the oldest in American soccer), and the Timbers long tenure in the city proves that there is interest in the sport.  Portland’s biggest hurdle, as is usually the case with sports projects, is getting the city government behind the project.

Vancouver

Population: 612,000

Vancouver has the population edge over its two western competitors, in addition to having strong support for a successful USL team and an enthusiastic owners group.  Stadium-wise, the Vancouver Whitecaps play in tiny, 5,000-seat Swangard Stadium, but the MLS expansion group, led by Steve Nash, is targeting BC Place, a 60,000-seat dome that will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2010 Olympics.  Vancouver would have a natural rivalry with Seattle, as well as being a team for western Canada to throw their support behind, with Toronto being far away.  Unfortunately, not having a soccer-specific staidum could hurt Vancouver’s chances.

St. Louis

Population: 351,000

St. Louis will be in the Eastern Conference if they join, but that will most likely push another team (Kansas City?) to the West.  With a stadium site and building already drawn up, a strong grassroots fan effort, and a reputation for being one of the country’s most soccer-crazy cities, St. Louis seems like a front runner to land a franchise.  Though there isn’t currently a strong pro soccer presence, that will certainly be overshadowed by the area’s rich soccer history (every US World Cup team has had at least one member who has called St. Louis their hometown).  With natural midwestern rivals in Kansas City and Chicago, and another team to cement the league’s presence in that region, there are few factors other than incredibly strong proposals from other cities that could keep St. Louis from having the 17th or 18th MLS team.

East

Atlanta

Population: 519,000

Atlanta is a large market in a part of the country that is sorely in need of MLS expansion.  Atlanta Falcons owner/Philantropist/Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank is the man behind the project, so there is plenty of moeny involved, but the biggest question for Atlanta revolves around support.  The Atlanta Silverbacks are an unsuccessful USL team that play in a 4,500-seat stadium.  The team has little presence in the area, which would seem to indicate that Atlanta isn’t ready for an MLS team.  There are also many difficulties in getting a stadium proposal together in time, as well as getting the city behind the project.  My guess is Atlanta will have to wait until the next round of MLS expansion to be a serious player.

Montreal

Population: 1,855,000

Liverpool FC owner George Gillet and USL Montreal Impact owners the Saputo family are behind Montreal’s push for an MLS team.  The Impact are a well-supported team whose attendance is still growing, and they already have a soccer-specific stadium which only need upgrades to meet MLS standards.  A natural rivalry with Toronto FC would be huge for Canadian soccer (and Canadian soccer growth is good for the US because it’s good for CONCACAF).  Montreal also has a successful history, with plenty of first-place USL finishes and control of the Voyageurs Cup for the top Canadian team every year since its creation in 2002 (even beating TFC this season).  To cap it all off, the Impact will play in the CONCACAF Champions League this autumn because of their victory over TFC.  The biggest question for Montreal’s expansion hopes is whether or not MLS wants to expand its geographic boundaries even further, and whether they are really interested in adding another Canadian team.

Ottawa

Population: 812,000

The NHL’s Ottawa Senator’s ownership group is behind Ottawa’s expansion project.  Admittedly, Ottawa’s chances are slim, but MLS is very open to the possibility of Canadian expansion with TFC in mind.  Ottawa is home to the Fury, a USL development league team that plays in a 3,000-seat stadium, so a new stadium would need to be constructed.  The city has no soccer history, so support is not nearly as likely as in another candidate cities.  Still, Ottawa is a large Canadian market, and could develop a strong rivalry with Toronto.

New York City

Population: 8,275,000

New York has always been a huge soccer town, as it is THE cultural crossroads of the United States.  The Metrostars/Red Bulls have been a failure to capitalize on that possibility.  Could you really root for a team named after a foul-tasting energy drink?  The franchise has plenty of money and plenty of ambition (see long list of well-known managers and players), but little success to speak of other than a La Mange Cup championship in 2004 over teams from other leagues that play in the summer (Scandinavian or Russian).  However with the construction of Red Bull Park, their fortunes may begin to reverse.

A second New York franchise will always be dependent on the Red Bulls; its very inception would be catalyzed by the original franchise’s existence and shortcomings.  The New York Mets ownership group is behind the current project, with plans to build a soccer-specific stadium on the land currently occupied by Shea Stadium (which is soon to be replaced by $600 million Citi Field right next door).  A stronger presence in NYC and a New York derby would be huge for MLS, but can the Mets ownership group put together a viable plan for a rival to the Red Bulls?

Ranking of Expansion Chances:

1. St. Louis

2. Montreal

3. New York

4. Portland

5. Vancouver

6. Las Vegas

7. Atlanta

8. Ottawa

MLS Weekly Recap 8/17

San Jose Stuns New England, Columbus Takes Lead in East

LA Galaxy 2-Chivas USA 2

An intense rivalry between two poor teams.  Alan Gordon’s late equalizer gave LA a draw in the match, but a victory in this year’s SuperClasico series, as Cobi Jones managed a draw in his only game as Interim Manager.  Without Brad Guzan or Sacha Kljestan, Chivas will have to get a major lift from Paulo Nagamura, Atiba Harris, or Carey Talley if they are going to survive the heated race in the West and make the playoffs.

FC Dallas 1-Columbus Crew 2

Dallas failed to extend its hot streak, as the Crew used two second half goals, both set up by league assist-leader Guillermo Barros Schelotto, to dispose of the visitors.  With the victory, the Crew took control of first place in the East.  Read the in-depth match review

DC United 1-Chicago Fire 0

Fred’s 27th minute strike was the difference for surging DC, who grabbed a key road win over Eastern foe Chicago.  Brian McBride, recently arrived for Beijing, came on as a second half sub and made a few key plays on offense for Chicago.  New Liberian Keeper Louis Crayton impressed in his DC United debut.  Chicago could have taken the lead in the East with a win, but instead lost ground to DC.

Real Salt Lake 3-Houston Dynamo 4

Houston asserted their dominance in the West in a game that had 6 first half goals.  Salt Lake managed an impressive offensive showing on the road (a rarity for Jason Kreis’ team).  American international Clint Mathis made his RSL debut after a season abroad in Greece with Ergotelis.

Kansas City Wizards 1-Colorado Rapids 2

Colorado collected a much-needed road win over the struggling, young Wizards team.  Conor Casey was a one-man wrecking crew for Colorado, finishing with two goals, and Keeper Preston Burpo seems to have supplanted Bouna Coundoul in the Colorado net.  Kansas City, previously on a 5-2-3 streak, failed to escape the cellar of the East.

New England Revolution 0-San Jose Earthquakes 4

Streaking San Jose got a huge shutout win over then leaders in the East New England.  English M Darren Huckerby had two assists, and Irish M Ronnie O’Brien notched two goals and an assist.  The loss knocked New England out of the top spot in the East, although they have a game in hand on Columbus, but San Jose’s victory failed to catapult them from the cellar in the West.

Toronto FC 0-New York Red Bulls 2

Toronto FC continues their tailspin with a road loss against New York, who was down a man for the second half because of a red card for Venezueland Red Bull loanee D Gabriel Cichero.  Mike Magee and Juan Pablo Angel scored for the Red Bulls, who were able to hop over Toronto in the Eastern Conference standings and into a fourth-place tie with DC United.  Toronto’s newest face, American U-21 F Johann Smith made his TFC debut, subbing for Abdus Ibrahim, and nearly scored his first MLS goal.