The New York Red Bulls' 2015 season ended on November 29. On December 2, the club announced its first cuts to the MLS roster. So it goes: the year is over; time to move on and move forward.
It is very early days in RBNY's process of building a team for 2016. We are just a week into the off-season. We won't really know what the team is trying to do until we've seen a few pre-season games. And won't know if it is working until the league gets underway again. But the first cuts, and first reports regarding who is staying, do give a sense of what might lie ahead as the team retools for next year.
It's hard to keep up with all the news trickling in, so here is an effort to put the information we have together and see if we can start to make sense of what RBNY might be up to over the next few months. To start, what should be the simplest group to evaluate: the 'keepers.
Under Contract: Santiago Castano, Ryan Meara, Luis Robles
Option Declined: Kyle Reynish
The Red Bulls announced they were in talks to bring Reynish back to the team in the same press release that told us he'd been let go. This is a little curious because the squad already has three 'keepers under contract.
And, if we're following along correctly, the team only recently exercised the option on Ryan Meara's contract to keep him attached to the roster through 2016. Meara told EmpireOfSoccer.com that he was waiting for word on his contract in an interview published on December 1. The same piece noted, not unreasonably, that the team would have to choose between Meara and Reynish for next season, since only one can be a back-up to surefire starter Luis Robles (the 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year). Robles, incidentally, is also safely contracted to the club for at least another season, with an option for 2017.
Robles on SR: "I re-did my deal at the end of 2013. They've picked up my option for 2016, There's another option for 2017." #RBNY— Seeing Red (@SeeingRedNY) December 2, 2015
But here we are, being told by RBNY that Meara is under contract and Reynish will be back if negotiations proceed as intended. Throw in Santiago Castano and you have a club with four 'keepers on the roster for 2016. There is no rule I am aware of that limits the number of 'keepers any MLS team can have, but four is one more than clubs traditionally carry on a roster that is currently restricted to 28 players.
It feels as though there is another move yet to be made. Perhaps Castano gets loaned out for the season so he isn't taking up a spot on the MLS roster (In 2015, the 20-year-old was kept busy playing for NYRB II in USL, but technically - as far as we know - that was a succession of short-term loans, so he remained part of the MLS squad). Perhaps Meara is once again loaned out (he spent 2015 with NYCFC). Maybe Reynish doesn't sign and the club decides to stick with what it has. Or maybe either Meara or Castano will be traded when the additional 'keeper RBNY is apparently seeking is added to the roster.
Unless the club is planning to bring Reynish back as a coach, it would appear likely there are adjustments to the goalkeeping corps still to come, when and if the 2013 NASL Golden Glove winner is brought back to the fold.