EmpireOfSoccer.com's Dave Martinez reports the New York Red Bulls will cut ties with left back Roy Miller and right winger Dane Richards.
Both players are among the club's most loyal servants. Richards made only 13 appearances this season for RBNY (12 in the league and one in US Open Cup), after returning to the team and turning down a Jamaica national team call-up in favor of winning a place in Jesse Marsch's affections. It didn't work out and Richards was loaned out to Indy Eleven, where his performances won him a nomination for NASL's Golden Ball award (i.e. the league MVP trophy - for which NASL appears to nominate two players from every team in the league).
When the NASL season ended and Richards did not return to RBNY, it appeared to give credence to rumors linking the player with a move away from Harrison.
Richards may have made scant contribution to RBNY this season, but overall he is one of the team's all-time stalwarts. He currently sits second on the all-time, all-competitions appearances list for the club: 176 games played is surpassed only by Mike Petke (197 career appearances for RBNY). Richards is also third for all-time starts in all competitions (148), and third on the all-time minutes played list (13, 413). He has scored 23 career goals in all competitions for RBNY: joint tenth all-time, tied with Mike Magee and Lloyd Sam. And his 30 assists in all competitions is the club's fourth-highest career tally of all time.
Miller is also one of RBNY's all-time appearances leaders: joint tenth all-time, all-competitions for games played; tenth on the all-time list of games started; tenth on the all-time minutes played list. He has the curious distinction of having had the least personal success during RBNY's best-ever seasons: he made just 17 appearances in the 2013 Shield-winning campaign, and just six in this year's run to the league title. But Miller has been with RBNY since the opening of Red Bull Arena, contributing to a stretch of six consecutive playoff appearances and two Supporters' Shields that adds up to the most successful period in the club's history.
Miller recently turned 31 and Richards will be 32 in a couple of weeks. Neither seemed to take particularly well to the requirements of the Red Bulls' RalfBall era - though Miller had an injury-disrupted season and was asked to deputize at center back: not his strongest position.
They represent two of the more obvious cuts to the current roster: a little too old, underused, and well-paid to be kept by a team operating under the competing constraints of the MLS salary cap and the RalfBall team-building philosophy.
In the last MLS Players' Union salary report, Richards was stated to be earning $105,000. Miller's guaranteed compensation was said to be $200,000. The Red Bulls will clear roster spots and up to $305,000 in cap space with the reported decision to decline the contract options of these players. And though both are experienced and still able, neither is manifestly proficient in the requirements of RBNY's current tactical system.
Two of the most familiar faces of RBNY's six seasons at Red Bull Arena will be two of the first to leave the squad as the club enters its first full off-season of retooling itself for the RalfBall era.