This past weekend, the Red Bulls officially hit the halfway point of their 2013 campaign. As sports bloggers often do, we'll take this occasion to hand out some mid-season grades. We started with the goalkeepers, we've graded the defenders and we've marked the midfielders, too. Now we're on to the forwards. Then, the front office.
Appearances (Sub): 15 (2)
When you lead the team in goals and function as the team's offensive catalyst, you get a an A. Henry hasn't had to do as much work this year as in years past, but he's still the team's most important player. As of late, he hasn't gotten the service he needs, but when he does, he shows why he's the league's best player.
Appearances (Sub): 15 (3)
Espindola started off hot, with two goals against the Portland Timbers, then he cooled off considerably. It's been a long time since his last goal and he hasn't been working as well with Henry as we all had hoped, but he's got it in him. A big function of this grade is that it's maddening he doesn't play well with Henry, despite having it in him.
Appearances (Sub): 2 (2)
Moreno is 17-years-old. He's not on the team to play, he's on the team to learn. He has made a few league appearances, but only in garbage time. The full 90 he played against Reading United shows that he's got ability, but he's still an incomplete package. And that's his grade.
Appearances (Sub): 8 (3)
Luyindula shows why he was able to play in Ligue 1 whenever he steps on the field. Unfortunately, he also shows why he was relegated to the bench at Paris Saint-Germain for so long, too: The man can't finish. He makes good runs, he's good with the ball, he's a good passer, but he can't score. And that's what he's got to do.
Appearances (Sub): 4 (3)
When the Red Bulls traded for Akpan, he was supposed to be a late game option, or a starter in a pinch. And he's done that exactly. He hasn't been a super sub -- he's not the first guy you bring off the bench if you need a goal -- but he's shown competence when he's been out there. He's never going to set the world on fire, but he doesn't have to because that's not why he's here.
A thrilling analysis, I know, but I promise it'll get better. In the meantime, let me know what you think about my grades. Am I too tough? Too easy?