Red Bulls Use Draft To Focus On Attack And Midfield

BALTIMORE - JANUARY 13: Thirteenth selection Cory Hertzog of the New York Red Bull poses for a photo with MLS Commissioner Don Garber during the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on January 13 2011 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore Maryland. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

There was a draft last Thursday, and the New York Red Bulls selected four players -- two midfielders, a striker, and a defender.  Wait, there was also a draft yesterday.....and the Red Bulls took a defender and a goalkeeper?

The first of those was the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.  The second was the edge-of-your-seat excitement of the Supplemental Draft, which I'm sure none of you dared to miss.  Obviously.

The front office decided to go for the best talent available with our first selection (thirteenth overall), taking striker Corey Hertzog from Penn State.  Many had expected Philadelphia to take the local kid from Reading, but he fell to the Red Bulls instead, giving us an embarrassment of riches at center forward.  He'll be our sixth striker, alongside Theirry Henry, Juan Agudelo, Salou Ibrahim, Conor Chinn, and Giorgi Chirgadze.  Fortunately, he's a Generation adidas player, so his salary won't count against the cap.

The Red Bulls' second pick was unattached midfielder John Rooney -- the younger brother of that Wayne Rooney, and the third was UNC centerback/left back Tyler Lassiter.  With the thirty-eighth pick, New York took Billy Cortes from the University of Maryland, who has been described in different places as a midfielder and as a defender (he also played as a striker at Maryland).

We didn't focus on the defense as much as I had hoped and expected, although there may be some transfers in the works that we haven't heard about to shore up that area.  The Hertzog selection only makes sense if we cut one or two of the strikers from last season, although we also have the option to demote them to the Reserves (the Reserve League is back this season).

In yesterday's Supplemental Draft (that's the fourth and thankfully the final draft of this off-season) New York picked up University of South Carolina goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and Princeton right back Teddy Schneider.

Red Bulls academy product Sacir Hot has been on trial with Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany, and is considering an offer from RBNY to sign as a homegrown player.  He is also supposed to have a trial with runaway Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund after 'Gladbach.  The Boston College sophomore is a centerback and has three very different options in Mönchengladbach, Dortmund, and the Red Bulls.  'Gladbach are bottom of the Bundesliga with the worst defense in the league by some distance, so Hot is likely to get plenty of playing time if he signs with them.  Dortmund are twelve points clear at the top and have the best defense in the league -- if Hot is picked up by Jürgen Klopp's side he'll have a very tough time to show he deserves to start ahead of Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic.  The Red Bulls have a pretty good defense, but he'll probably get playing time and the opportunity to learn from Rafael Marquez if he returns to New York.

Theirry Henry has been linked with a loan move to Leicester City in the English Championship, but I completely agree with this column from Big Apple Soccer's Michael Lewis -- it's not a good idea for the Red Bulls.  He's been training with Arsenal in a move that's good for all parties, but Henry should go through the team pre-season program and stick with New York.

Finally, the Red Bulls have a new assistant coach for Hans Backe, as Jan Halvor Halvorsen replaces Goran Aral.

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