The new secondary kit has been confirmed, the starting eleven is looking solid, Mike Petke and company have somehow managed to bring the majority of the 2013 Supporter's Shield winning side back for another season and the New York Red Bulls are widely expected to have another strong run at the MLS Cup in 2014. All told, there is plenty to feel good about. Unfortunately, not everything is all roses and puppy butts (they're cute, alright?!?!) in Harrison. Let's take a look at a few of the things about which we aren't feeling so great.
Jerome de Bontin suddenly calls it quits.
Just five days before the start of the season, New York's general manager decided, seemingly out of the blue, to resign from his position for "personal reasons." Given the vague explanation, there's no telling why de Bontin actually left the club but, considering the "that's so Metro" tradition, it probably wasn't in order to go find himself in Cambodia. The GM's sudden departure shouldn't cause too many issues on the pitch, however the timing isn't exactly perfect from a marketing standpoint. New York City FC is just one year away from its inaugural season and, considering the fact that de Bontin was one of the only GMs the the club has ever had that actually focused on marketing, he leaves a pretty sizable hole in that department. In a year when Red Bull really needs to focus on ingraining itself within the fabric of New York City, the search for a new general manager will be a slight distraction.
The defense is questionable.
As already stated, the Red Bulls are returning to the pitch with largely the same team as last season. Unfortunately, the defense will most likely have a much different look. We constantly hear how teams need time to "gel" in order to perform at their absolute best and with some new faces in Richard Eckersley, Armando, Matt Miazga and Bobby Convey being thrown into the mix, it's going to take some time for the back line to get used to each other. Until they do indeed gel, we're probably going to see some gaffs in communication and few costly mistakes as a result.
An aging attack.
If we're being honest, we have to admit that Thierry Henry slowed down a step last season. While ten goals is nothing to sneeze at, the former Arsenal man is another year older and will be pushed to the absolute limit this season. Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula aren't exactly spring chickens either. Considering that Cahill will almost certainly be called up to the Australian national team for the World Cup as well as insist he play in both the U.S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League, there's a strong possibility that he'll be absolutely spent by September. Of course, there are other options to fill in should either Henry, Cahill or Luyindula fall to injury, but those options are untested at best. Mike Petke is going to need a very good plan in order to ensure that the aging forwards don't wear themselves out too quickly.
Is it time to take part in the traditional, knee-jerk panic that usually takes place every year as the sky begins to fall? No way, but there are few minor concerns that warrant keeping an eye on. All of Red Bulls' perceived "reasons to worry" are small things that can be easily maintained or outright fixed with the right planning and management from coach Mike Petke and Andy Roxburgh. In a year that many consider make or break for RBNY, it's important that the club get it right. We wouldn't want the Blue Feeders moving in next door to think we're just going to let these issues get the best of us, now would we?