It's been a busy time for the New York Red Bulls of late, what with the fans in open revolt, the fact every player the club seems to be ready to let go is doing amazing things in international tournaments, and the usual issues an organization will suffer when key personnel decide to go hang out in Qatar for a few days.
Jesse Marsch (@jessemarsch) January 22, 2015
Such issues presumably explain why the club has lapsed into the habit of allowing its news to be broken by institutions other than itself. Recently, we had USL PDL announcing a 2015 league line-up that looks a lot like it contains a Red Bulls team we haven't officially been told about.
And two days ago, IMG issued a preliminary schedule for its preseason tournament in Bradenton, Florida - now named the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic.
That tournament, you may recall, is the one RBNY was reported to be competing in earlier this month. Last time we heard about it, Marc de Grandpre was telling Empire of Soccer there would be a tournament in Bradenton coinciding with RBNY's visit to the city - and that tournament would feature Toronto FC, Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew, Danish club HB Koege, and the Costa Rica U-21s.
We were also under the impression there were a couple of teams to be added to the lineup. IMG has now provided both the identity of those teams - Congolese club TP Mazembe and PDL team Oklahoma City Energy - as well as a schedule. (Hat tip to @DanCovello who put us on to this; follow him if you want to see what we'll be writing about a few hours before we write it.)
Note that IMG is calling this a "tentative" schedule, so things may change, but here is what has been described so far:
- The eight teams are divided into two groups
- Philly, Columbus, TP Mazembe, and what is now being described as the Costa Rica U-23 team will be in one group
- RBNY is grouped with HB Koege, Oklahoma City Energy, and Toronto FC
So we're going to get an early look at Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and however many other refugees from this club's history TFC manages to accumulate between now and the middle of February.
RBNY's provisional schedule is as follows:
- February 18: vs. HB Koge
- February 21: vs. Oklahoma City Energy
- February 25th: vs. Toronto FC
The winner of each group will play a tournament final on February 28th; the other teams will play consolation matches the same day (assume second place in each group play off against each other etc.).
There we have it: four (tentatively) scheduled preseason friendlies. Now all we need is a full roster to compete in them.
Further details on the tournament including times and tickets here.