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Del Piero to New York? And Other Notes

-On the heels of the announcement that Juventus is coming to town to face the Red Bulls in a friendly on May 23rd, The Old Lady's longest tenured player, and captain, Alessandro Del Piero has been rumored to be joining the Red Bulls later this year. According the the Gazetto Dello Sport, Del Piero could join the Red Bulls at the end of May, and Adidas, who sponsors Del Piero, would push for the move.

As we've chronicled here in the past, countless big names have been linked with playing for the Red Bulls/MetroStars. However, Del Piero to the Red Bulls could make a lot of sense. He's done everything he can at Juventus. At 35, he's not getting any older, and coupled with the money from Adidas, could make just as much in Harrison as he could in Turin. Del Piero will return one day to Juventus in some capacity, but a couple years finishing out his career in Major League Soccer wouldn't be the worst thing for him. For the Red Bulls, I think he'd would instantly make them a better attacking side. He could play forward next to or withdrawn from Juan Pablo Angel. He could also play as a central or outside midfielder. The guy is just a class player who, as long as he commits himself, would help the team tremendously. Head coach Hans Backe has dismissed the rumor as just that, a rumor, but this will be something to pay attention to in the coming weeks.

-Juan Pablo Angel's dramatic late penalty winner over FC Dallas on Saturday was enough to shoot the Red Bulls up to the firs tier of in the latest edition of the SBNhanced MLS Power Rankings. The Red Bulls earned four first tier votes, and came in second in the overall vote count, just behind the unbeaten Los Angeles Galaxy. Real Salt Lake fell out of the top-tier and, just in case anyone was wondering, DC United finished in dead last yet again. The full rankings are as follows:

SBNhanced MLS Power Rankings!

Team Total vote count First Tier votes Last week's Tier
Tier 1 - Teams Contending For Cups
LA Galaxy 21 7 1
NY Red Bulls 18 4 2
Columbus Crew 17 5 1
KC Wizards 17 3 1
Tier 2 - Teams Likely in the Playoffs
Houston Dynamo 16 3 3
Seattle Sounders 15 1 2
Colorado Rapids 14 1 3
Real Salt Lake 12 2 1
Tier 3 - Teams On the Outside Looking In
SJ Earthquakes 11 0 3
NE Revolution 10 0 2
Chicago Fire 7 0 4
FC Dallas 5 0 3
Tier 4 - Teams Competing for #3 Draft Pick
Philadelphia Union 1 0 4
Chivas USA 0 0 4
Toronto FC 0 0 4
DC United 0 0 4

The SBNhanced MLS Power Rankings are a collaborative effort by SBN's soccer bloggers to rank the MLS teams each week.

Week 4 rankings. Updated 4/20/10.

-Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe can't wait to get newly signed Danish midfielder Brian Nelson into the fold, so much so that the Dane could start on Saturday, even though he isn't in the country yet. According to Michael Lewis of Big Apple Soccer, Backe thinks Nielsen will join the team Wednesday night.

"He played his last competitive game probably in December in Denmark. They had their pre-season in January and February. Probably has been playing one cup game. He needs some games. He still should be good enough to make an impact," Backe said. He also added, "He can train Thursday and Friday. It's enough to start a game." Clearly, Backe doesn't have the greatest confidence in anyone who has played at left midfield so far this season.