-The newest edition of the SBNhanced MLS Power Rankings are out, and the Red Bulls were the only team to move up a tier. With the stunning 1-0 win in Seattle, the Red Bulls earned 5 out of a possible 6 first-place votes, and subsequently knocked the Sounders down a tier. Obviously its way too early to get excited about the Red Bulls chasing a championship this season, but its clear that it's not just Red Bulls fans that are noticing the turnaround of this team from last year. New York is opening eyes and for the right reasons.
-If you watched Saturday's win over the Sounders, you would have noticed that head coach Hans Backe was absent from the sidelines. The first-year New York skipper was advised to stay in the team's hotel room by doctors after he complained of stomach pains. Yesterday, the Swede had his gall bladder removed, and it is unclear how long he will be unavailable. A statement from the team read:
"Hans is now recovering and is in good spirits," a statement from the club said. "The medical team is confident that he will make a full recovery in the coming weeks."
While Backe is recovering, the Red Bulls will be in the reliable hands of Richie Williams. We'll see if there's any kind of long-term effect of Backe's absence, but I think the team will be just fine under Williams. The players trust him, he knows the league, and has served as interim coach in the past (with some success last season, which was remarkable considering the circumstances).
-The Red Bulls defeated Rutgers 5-0 in a friendly yesterday (for this Seton Hall alum, Rutgers losing never gets old). It was a rookie showcase for the Red Bulls, as Conor Chinn and Irving Garcia both netted two goals, and newly signed academy product Juan Agudelo scored the other goal. Chinn had a great preseason, and its good to see him continue to find the net in the games he does get in. It would not be too surprising to see him contribute for the first team at some point this season. As for Agudelo, it should be fun watching this kid progress, and hopefully he does a lot of his growing in a Red Bulls uniform.