This past weekend, the Red Bulls officially hit the halfway point of their 2013 campaign. As sports bloggers often do, we'll take this occasion to hand out some mid-season grades. We'll start with the goalkeepers and make our way up the field through the defenders, midfielders, forwards and front office.
Appearances (Sub): 17
There were times this season when Robles left a lot to be desired, and a lot of fans pining for Ryan Meara's return. But there were other games where Robles played really well. He hasn't been excellent -- in fact, he nearly coughed up points a couple of times this year -- but there have been a number of games he's been above average.
Appearances (Sub): 2
Meara did play both the Red Bulls' Open Cup games, getting put through the paces against Reading United before a dismal showing against the New England Revolution. But two games after nearly a year of inactivity isn't enough for me to be able to slap a letter grade on him. Even in a completely arbitrary, relatively meaningless mid-season grades post.
Hartman was brought on to make sure that if Robles goes down, the Red Bulls won't have to throw 18-year-old prospect Santiago Castano into the fire, plus to coach up some of the young guys. In that light, Hartman has done his job admirably. That's not to say Hartman is the Red Bulls best goalkeeper, but if his job is to be the second or third goalkeeper, then he's doing his job perfectly.
Yes, another incomplete. Castano is 18. He's not going to be playing very much for the foreseeable future. And he shouldn't. An incomplete is a fair grade for a guy who's all potential, and will probably be his grade for some time. I suppose I could've given him an A using Hartman-esque logic, but I haven't been to practice so I couldn't tell you how he's coming along.
A thrilling analysis, I know, but I promise it'll get better. In the meantime, let me know what you think about my grades. Am I too tough? Too easy?