All around the SBNation MLS network, the individual team blogs are throwing up their season previews. We're doing our own thing, position-by-position, but that doesn't mean we can't get in on the fun, too. Here's our season preview and we'll be filling in more of the position profiles as we go, plus some other stuff planned for the end of the week.
It's been a weird few weeks in Red Bulls Land.
When club legend Mike Petke was named head coach, there was an air of confidence around the team. No, Andy Roxburgh, et al didn't find the European coach they seemed to want, but the fans, wholly unconvinced that Euro would do the job, got their American head coach. But the team's Desert Diamond Cup showing wasn't all that great. One draw and three losses while scoring only three goals doesn't do a lot for confidence heading into the season.
That said there's still reason to be hopeful. Tim Cahill will play his first full season in a Red Bulls kit. Juninho will threaten on set pieces and from long distance in the middle of the park. The Red Bulls still have Thierry Henry. Dax McCarty got re-upped. Jamison Olave was one of the few bright spots in the pre-season. Fabian Espindola seems like he's going to be a worthwhile acquisition.
Plus, who puts that much stock in games teams are only half-trying to win?
On to the preview...
Key Additions: Juninho (Vasco de Gama), Fabian Espindola (Real Salt Lake), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake), Kosuke Kimura (Portland Timbers), Ruben Bover (formerly Ruben Izquierdo, Charlton Athletic)
Key Losses: Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Joel Lindpere (Chicago Fire), Rafael Marquez (Club Leon), Teemu Tainio (HJK), Jan Gunnar Solli (Valerenga)
Projected Starting Line-up: Luis Robles; Kimura, Olave, Heath Pearce, Roy Miller; McCarty; Bover, Cahill, Juninho, Espindola, Henry
Optimistic Prediction: The MLS Cup or the Open Cup. Maybe even the Supporter's Shield. There's so much talent on this team it's just up to Petke to put it all together tactically and make sure they're ready and motivated to play. If they play to capacity, they should win at least one trophy.
Although, we've been saying that forever, haven't we?
Pessimistic Prediction: Nothing goes right. Petke's inexperience shows. He can't get the team's high-priced DP's respect. His tactics don't catch on. Juninho, Henry and Olave get hurt. Espindola proves especially enigmatic. Cahill fails to adapt to the league in this new season. The rest of the team fails to gel.