The New York Red Bulls'off-season of relentless subtraction continues, according to BigAppleSoccer.com's Kristian Dyer. Assistant coach Robin Fraser, credited with many of the tactical tweaks and shifts that have contributed to the club's unprecedented success over the past two years, is rumored to have rejected a one-year contract extension offered by RBNY in favor of a three-year deal proposed by Toronto FC.
Dyer can't control whether his sources tell him the truth or not, but his reporting broke the news that RBNY did not have a discovery claim on Steven Gerrard (subsequently seemingly confirmed by the news that he is all but certain to sign for LA Galaxy) - to mention just the most recent scoop the reporter has scored on the Red Bulls beat.
If and when confirmed, Fraser will join the 2015 exodus that currently comprises Thierry Henry, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Kosuke Kimura, Saer Sene, Bobby Convey, Marius Obekop, Damien Perrinelle, Richard Eckersley, as well as smooth-talking Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh and the loan of Ryan Meara to truth-inhibited NYC FC.
To date, the club has brought in Sean Davis and Sal Zizzo to bolster the playing staff, and appointed Ali Curtis to replace Roxburgh. And now RBNY appears to have broken up the Petke-Fraser coaching axis: the most successful sideline crew the team has ever known.
If there was any doubt over 2015 being a rebuilding year, it should be settled whenever the press release announcing Fraser's departure lands. The club now has just seven of the 14 guys who played in RBNY's Shield-clinching win over Chicago on the last day of the 2013 regular season under contract. And Fraser's exit would mean two of the three most visible members of the front office which masterminded the Shield-winning season are also gone.
The team does still have the only trophy-winning head coach in its history, its single-season scoring record holder, and a clear tactical identity. So the rebuild ahead would seem to be more about preserving the gains of the last couple of years rather than starting over. But there is a lot of work to be done in this off-season, and every day that passes is one day less for RBNY to get that work done before MLS 2015 kicks off.