First thing is first. I owe everyone an apology for the complete lack of updates. I've been in the process of a big move from Long Branch, NJ to Austin, TX. During this time I've been without stable internet as I was sleeping on friends' couches and such. I have finally settled into my apartment and will continue to cover all things Red Bulls (except the flugtag...what is that anyways?). Also, even though I have moved doesn't mean that coverage will stop. Due to the amazing advancement of the internet, I will never miss a game! I also get to have the unique distinction of being the only Red Bulls fan at both Dallas and Houston games, unless people travel of course!
Okay, now that that's outta the way, let's talk soccer. FC Dallas has been on a tear lately and are slowly joining Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy in talks of who takes the west. Dallas is currently riding a 14-game unbeaten streak and a 6 game win streak at Pizza Hut park. The teams met earlier this year in Harrison, New Jersey with the Red Bulls winning in the 90th minute when Juan Pablo Angel converted on a penalty kick. Since that game in April, the Dallas team has only lost twice. The last loss was against the Galaxy in May.
Dallas doesn't have the press making Designated Players that the New York Red Bulls have, but they have a very solid, if not under rated squad. Jeff Cunningham is having a very solid year with 8 goals and 1 assist. It's not the same as last year where he was the Golden Boot winner but he's having a very good year. New York also needs to watch out for Brek Shea. At 20 years old, he's 6'4" and 188lbs, making him one of the biggest people on the field. He's recorded 5 goals and 4 assists on the year, which would lead one to believe he also has a relatively high soccer IQ. He has also been a member of the US-20 team so he's someone to keep an eye on for international play if you follow the US Mens National Team. These two players could make it a very long night for the Red Bulls defense. David Ferreira is the final piece of the Dallas team the Red Bulls need to cover. He's an attacking midfielder with 6 goals and 9 assists on the year. He has a massive soccer IQ and great vision on the field.
The Red Bulls have made some big changes too. I've already talked about Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez to the point I'm getting sick of it. They're hitting their stride and the team is finally playing as a unit. It's my opinion they're the reason for the improved play of Dane Richards. Never thought anyone would ever say that about the Jamaican but he's earned his spot in the starting XI. He's still making dumb mistakes but it's hard to argue that having Marquez and Henry as mentors will have a positive impact on his overall game. The big change that made recent news was the trading of Macoumba Kandji to Colorado for Mehdi Ballouchy. Kandji is the definition of unfulfilled potential. At 6'4", he could have been something special, especially at the Central Attacking Midfield position. Unfortunately, it appears that the rumors were true and that Mac wasn't performing well in practice. Mehdi Ballouchy fits the role of CAM very well and has a history of being a hard worker. He should fit well in the Hans Backe system. No word on if he's traveling with the team but I hope we get to see some minutes out of him soon.