Aren't they cute? Rafa and Mehdi get along so well. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
We've probably all been on the subway those days when there isn't a train for a half hour and then three or four come along in five minutes. Well, that was this week for the New York Red Bulls. After more than a month without any confirmation of player signings that we had been told were done deals, the club dropped a series of official announcements on us this week. Fortunately, unlike with the subway, the players have arrived early enough to make a difference in the coming season.
First came the confirmation that we'd signed Norwegian international midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli, formerly of SK Brann. The word all week has been that he's already showing that he has a Lindpere-esque work ethic, which can only be good for our central midfield.
Next, the club announced the signing of Maryland attacking midfielder (and RBNY academy product) Matt Kassel, who will join as our third Home Grown player alongside Juan Agudelo and Giorgi Chirgadze. (That puts us second among MLS teams, behind only Chivas, in Home Grown players.)
Finally, Luke Rodgers' move to New York was confirmed; the former Notts County striker is renowned for his pace and should add an extra dimension to our strike force and compliment Dane Richards' speed on the wing.
On Friday, the Red Bulls announced (at last) our full pre-season schedule. The team will spend just over a week in Mexico, where we'll play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara; we also have games against the Chicago Fire, Sporting KC, and FC Dallas. It looks like a pretty strong schedule of friendlies, although a bit light in quantity.
In good news from the MLS offices, the new roster and player rules allow teams an unlimited number of Home Grown players. For those of you who enjoy that sort of thing, it would be great for you to read through and summarize it so that I don't have to.
On that note, Ives is reporting that we've signed another academy product -- Boston College centerback Sacir Hot. With all of these additions, I can't see us bringing in any more players before (maybe) the European transfer window this summer. We're pretty stocked with talent at this stage.
A couple of now former Red Bulls' departures were officially announced this week. Andrew Boyens won't be back with the club this season, and neither will Sinisa Ubiparipovic. The second of those announcements was prompted by a Twitter campaign from my friend Matt Conroy of The Viper's Nest. Not only can social media spread the word about political protests, it can also break down the most stubborn of stonewallers -- MLS and the league front offices.
That's all the Red Bulls news from me for today. If you're in need of a soccer fix, the boss-man of SBNation Soccer, Richard Farley, has ten games to watch this weekend, and my always-gripping Bundesliga coverage is here (I do try to keep it interesting, fortunately that's not usually very difficult).