Season Preview: Right Back

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

With Mike Petke in charge, it's one of his guys against...another one of his guys. And that's a good thing.

With the MLS season just a few days away, we preview the Red Bulls with daily position-by-position previews. You can read all of them here. Today: The Red Bulls' situation at right back.

Brandon Barklage, despite what he might say, is one of Mike Petke's guys.

Under Hans Backe, it seemed Petke had "his guys." Barklage, along with guys like Stephen Keel and Tyler Ruthven, filled out the roster and played extremely well when called upon. They were Americans adrift in a sea of Europeans (more specifically, Scandinavians) and Petke had connections to all of them.

Now Barklage, who seemed to reignite talks of injury prone-ness down the stretch last year, is in something of a competition with another "Petke guy" Kosuke Kimura for the Red Bulls right back spot.

While it seems Barklage will get the call -- he did start the first two Desert Diamond Cup games -- Kimura has proven a capable MLS player. If Barklage goes down or hits a rough patch, it's Kimura who will get the call to slot into the back four.

Oh, and we're expecting some squad rotation this year, right?

That kind of depth and flexibility is good for the team. That both of them are good MLS players bodes well for Petke's ability to evaluate talent. That there's competition for a spot is a positive thing.

The only real downside is for the guy who has to sit.

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