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 made our way through the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards. Now we're on to the guys in charge, the front office.
When Petke took over, there was a lot of excitement, but also a lot of worry. How would a rookie head coach, just a few years removed from retirement, work with a roster with guys like Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill? Would he get their respect? Would he even know what he's doing?
He proved pretty quickly he does. He's still a rookie, and it shows from time to time, but what earned him his grade was his man management. He worked wonders with Roy Miller and Markus Holgersson and his decision to change from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 shows flexibility. Those are qualities that will serve him well as he grows as a coach and that's why he gets a B.
Roxburgh's a soccer lifer, so when he came over, people knew the Red Bulls were getting a ton of experience. But MLS isn't like the rest of the world, so questions about how well he'd deal with the quirks of the American game lingered. But he's done a pretty good job, especially given it's his first year. He's been quick to sign academy players, he's started to build an American core and, probably most importantly, it seems he's listening to the guys with more MLS experience than him. He's here to learn as much as he is to build the Red Bulls into something respectable. And he's done a damn fine job so far.
Jerome de Bontin
Attendance hasn't been great under de Bontin, but it's up. Not that it took much business wizardry -- all he had to do to bring some fans back was not be Chris Heck -- but with limited resources, he seems to be doing the best he can to get more fans in Red Bull Arena. The summer is going to make or break de Bontin, as the Red Bulls tend to do better at the gate during the summer months.
That does it for the midseason grades. How do you think I did? Too tough? Too easy?