RBNY 2014 Season Preview: Once a Metro's 2014 Predictions

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we've looked at each positions and the reasons to be excited/worried, here's what your Once a Metro writers think is going to happen in 2014.

Saturday night, the Red Bulls kick off the 2014 season against the Vancouver Whitecaps out on the west coast. How do Once a Metro writers think the Red Bulls will cope with the 2014 season and the Supporters' Shield defense? Let's find out...

Matt Coyne

Starting XI

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via www.footballuser.com

(They'll call it a 4-4-2, but it'll be a 4-4-1-1 in practice.)

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2014?

I don't expect them to win the Supporters' Shield again, but they'll be right up there come season's end. I do expect them to win either the U.S. Open Cup or the MLS Cup, though. I also expect people to be surprised by their CONCACAF Champions League performance, in a good way. It's generally assumed you can pencil the MLS sides into he knockout round, but I think the reserves, guys like Ruben Bover, Marius Obekop and Michael Bustamante, to take the opportunity to play in a competitive game to show what they can do and they'll tear apart a lot of their competition.

But, really, what's going to happen this season?

I don't see Mike Petke suffering a sophomore slump. After a rookie season where he won the team won its first ever trophy, it'd be so very Metro for Petke to preside over mediocrity in year two. But after spending part of the winter in England learning from some of the Premier League's best, the guidance of Andy Roxburgh, Robin Frasier in his corner and the team's depth, Petke should have the tools to keep the team performing.

I'm going to need you to go out on a limb here...

How about this? Thierry Henry is going to have a miserable start to the season, until he signs a controversial contract extension. Knowing he'll still be in a Red Bulls uniform in 2015, Henry turns it on and nets 15 goals and wins the MVP.

Tim Dean

Starting XI

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via www.footballuser.com

(For the season opener.)

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2014?

By the time December rolls around, the Red Bulls will either be lifting the MLS Cup or watching whoever they played in the final lift it instead. I don't see them gunning for a repeat of the Supporter's Shield; been there, done that, it's time to shut the critics up once and for all. The US Open Cup will probably be another disappointment but I can see them winning their group stage of the CCL only to crash out in the knockout rounds.

But, really, what's going to happen this season?

The Red Bulls will get their first win away at New England as well as home in the playoffs and make it into the finals.

I'm going to need you to go out on a limb here...

Bradley Wright-Phillips will win the Golden Boot Award with 28 goals. Peguy Luyindula will rack up an astonishing 22 assists, forcing the league to create a "Copper Shoe Award."

Jason Iapicco

Starting XI

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via www.footballuser.com

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2014?

While I would love to say that the Red Bulls would win the treble (US Open Cup, Supporter's Shield, MLS Cup), realistically I know it won't happen. I don't think they will repeat as shield winners as the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City return a majority of their lineups, which are generally younger than the Red Bulls thus better suited to the rigors of multiple competitions. In the end, while they won't win the Shield, I can see the Red Bulls making a deep playoff run, especially if they stay healthy. Dare I say it, I can see the Red Bulls taking MLS Cup.

But, really, what's going to happen this season?

I predict that before the World Cup, we'll all start hating Roy Miller again. Then, after he's gone to the World Cup with Costa Rica, he'll come back to the team and put in inspired performances that will get him back into our good graces.

I'm going to need you to go out on a limb here...

The team will start off really slow, make a run for the US Open Cup title, which will lead into a huge second half bounce back. They'll go into the playoffs and not give up a goal on their way to the MLS Cup, winning it at Red Bull Arena.

Austin Fido

Starting XI

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via www.footballuser.com

(For opening night.)

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2014?

I think the East will be tight this year - even tighter than usual. DC & TFC won't be handing out points to anyone who asks nicely. It wouldn't surprise me if the whole Eastern Conference is separated by less than 10 points at the end of the season. But RBNY's seasoned crew will find a way to grind out results and accumulate points. It won't always be pretty, it may never feel like we're really having a good season, but in a year when no team in the East can break away, we'll stay in the hunt to the end. And fall just short. Too many key player absences (World Cup, small squad, some inevitable meltdown along the way) will, ultimately, keep us from scaling the heights of last year.

I dearly want this to be the year we crack the first-round playoff hex which has plagued the team in recent years. More importantly, I think the players want that as well. Our best guys are probably a little too creaky to get themselves through an end-of-season tournament, such as MLS playoffs. But if we can get a decent seeding and home advantage for the first round, I think this is the year we put the hex to bed.

In the Open Cup, a tight race in the league, CCL and the World Cup will prove just too much for Petke to throw the bulk of the first team into this competition. The stop-start reserve league schedule doesn't really help the second tier guys gel as a team. Against a motivated, well drilled lower league side, I think our young guns go down blazing. Obekop to score one in a 3-2 defeat which sends RBNY out of USOC after one game.

The Champions League, for me, is the tournament we need to focus on this year: if we want Titi to hang around after this season, and if we want to keep attracting the marquee players to which we have become accustomed. Continuing our CCL adventure into the knockout rounds gives us separation from our soon-to-arrive noisy neighbors, NYCFC.

It's no longer sufficient for RBNY to thrown down cash and the digits of a realtor with knowledge of NYC's luxury penthouse market. EVERYONE in MLS seems to have plenty of cash these days, and NYCFC's executives will probably snap up every penthouse in Manhattan before they even sign a player.

So the pitch to new players has to change. Do you want to play on a borrowed corner of a baseball field, or in a proper soccer stadium? You want CCL games in Mexico, or to be a show pony in a Man City marketing manager's fever dream?

Three wins and a draw should get us a modest advantage for next year's quarterfinal round of CCL. But the focus on achieving that is why our league form may sputter as the calendar gets crowded toward the end of the year.

But, really, what's going to happen this season?

Bradley Wright-Phillips top scores for us in MLS with 15 goals in the regular season, aided by a double-digit assist season from Titi and the fact that he's the only forward ready to go for every game this year.

I'm going to need you to go out on a limb here...

Marius Obekop averages a goal a game in limited minutes for the first dozen matches of the year, plays his way into Cameroon's World Cup squad, and is traded to Leon in July, with whom he wins Copa Libertadores.

We get Rafa Marquez in return. Luis Robles slips on the tears of the South Ward, Meara is the starting 'keeper for the rest of the season, and RBNY wins MLS Cup. Jan Gunnar Solli DJ's at the end of the match and Juan Pablo Angel leads the dancing on the center circle.

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