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OaM Mailbag: Goals, Supporters, Petke, and Food

In our first mailbag, we tackle some tough preseason questions.

I'm going to teach those people what real food is!
I'm going to teach those people what real food is!
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we announced our first ever Once a Metro Mailbag. Every week, you can ask questions of our staff in regards to the New York Red Bulls, Sky Blue FC, pop culture, bad fashion styles, anything!

Our first question comes from Alicia Rodriguez, managing editor of our sister site, The Goat Parade.

Where are the goals going to come from this year, besides BWP?

Aaron Bauer:

Bradley Wright-Phillips actually participated in a science experiment this offseason and cloned himself. So expect some goals from BWP2.

Kidding aside, this is a major concern for the year. I would expect Sacha Kljestan, Felipe Martin, Dax McCarty andPeguy Luyindula to contribute between 3-7 goals each in central midfield, and Mike Grella has looked good in preseason. There's always the young central midfielders in Sean Davis and Leo Stolz who are wildcards.

On the wings I would hope Lloyd Sam starts going toward the net more (complete player alert) and we sign Dane Richards we could have some threats on the wing even though Thierry Henry is gone with those two, Sal Zizzo and youngster Marius Obekop.

Despite the loss of Henry I'd expect the Red Bulls to not lose too much offensively.

I was a casual follower, until I got season tickets in 2012. I am a Petke fan and was shocked when he got fired, but not oblivious that this has happened before on earth and life goes on. It seems a segment of the fans believe Mike Petke was the reason we had 2 great runs in successive years. I think he worked well in Henry's playhouse, the way BWP did (more so then Espindola). But crediting Mike Petke is like crediting Mark Sanchez instead of Darrelle Revis. And hating Ali Curtis really frightens me because it shows I know more about soccer/MLS/economics, etc., then some of these fans for 20 years. But I get that, since at the Jets games I sit next to morons that yell "run" and "pass", showing total lack of comprehension for the game. They will also talk about player acquisition in the same manner, dismissing the external factors (much like the sign any DP mentality here).

Robin Fraser was to Mike Petke what Tex Winter was to Phil Jackson. So every sign points to Mike Petke enjoying the best possible surroundings in his 2 years, then the other way around.

But if I listen to the segment of fans that I'm referring to and believe all their nonsense, why isn't Mike Petke already somewhere else if he is that good?

Even A-Rod, with all his garbage in tow at age 84, or whatever he is now, would be snatched up right away if he was let go by the Yanks. If a player comparison is too far off base, look at that loser coach who quit the (Buffalo) Bills. He didn't get the HC job he thought he would get and wound up as a line coach in Jacksonville (the NFL equivalent of going to hell in kerosene soak pants). But nonetheless wound up somewhere. Now you can say family, etc., but if there were offers, somebody would have leaked that, kind of like when he got let go. - Mike

Jason Iapicco:

Petke has some opportunities available to him. D.C. United coach (and former Petke teammate) Ben Olsen, for example, offered him a spot on the D.C. coaching staff. It wasn't leaked, it was very public. However, Petke has made it clear he didn't want to coach anywhere else besides with the Red Bulls, and I honestly believe he feels that way. I don't know what Petke has planned. At this point in time, it seems like Petke is taking a well deserved break, and I can't blame him if he is.

Any word whether Sal Zizzo (who famously operated an Italian food cart in downtown Portland while with the Timbers) plans to resurrect his venture in Harrison this year? - Matt

Jason Iapicco:

I hope so. We do have a Taco Truck, maybe he can get a partnership going. Either that or the team can give him a spot on the Bullevard when he's not in the gameday 18. Also, don't forget the grease trucks that serve New Brunswick's college population. There's so many possibilities here.

What's a reasonable expectation for a finish this season? Should fans call for Marsch's (and Curtis') head if the team doesn't make the playoffs or win MLS Cup? - Jason

Lester Townsend:

The East got a lot weaker with the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City leaving. I'd say anywhere from third through sixth is a reasonable expectation. They could challenge for the conference, they could miss the playoffs, but I doubt it. I'd be shocked if the Red Bulls do not make the playoffs.

As for calling for Marsch's head, I doubt there's a point to it. No matter how the team performs, fans will receive an explanation about how this is a "three to five year plan." Feel free, though. The team fired the most successful coach in club history, and nobody can stop you from yelling on the internet about it.

What are some viable international targets for RBNY? As a first time season ticket holder, I want to know when I start getting my tickets, scarves, etc. When does this happen around? Are you ready for the reason to start? - Albin

Lester Townsend:

I assume by "international targets," you mean Designated Players. I'm going to level with you: don't expect a big name during the summer. It's possible that you shouldn't expect any targets this summer. But, hey, maybe they'll sign somebody. There's a lot of players out there in the $300k range, so who knows? I don't want to be a Depressed Derek, but the team is kind of backing off spending on players. Maybe another Zubar-level player, but we'll see.

You'll get your season ticket packet anywhere from today until the day before the first home game. There's no rhyme nor reason to when these things are sent out. It varies from year to year. According to a person who works with the team, they're going to be sent out this week.

I'm never ready for the season to start. Around July I realize I've been going to games for months and it hits me. I'll say this, a nice long playoff run does create a shorter off-season which is nice. Usually it feels like it goes on too long, but this pre-season didn't drag relative to other years.

Great idea for a mailbag. I've been following the team for just under a year, so I have a couple of newbie questions (and one random one). Answer all, any or none on the podcast or mailbag!

  1. Once the CBA is finalized, I am buying the 10-game flex plan, but I am not sure where to sit. Where are your favorite spots to sit at Red Bull Arena, taking into account intensity, field view and any other consideration?
  2. What is the history/state of the NY-NJ fan dynamic? Do fans or supporters groups make distinctions? Do each have specific reputations? What do you think about it now that there is an MLS team now in New York?
  3. What are your favorite 3 songs from 2014?


Aaron Bauer:

I'm probably the only writer here who has never been to RBA, and it makes sense given that I was already living in Atlanta when I really started to get into the team so I can't help with numbers 1 and 2.

As for number 3..."Handsome and Wealthy" by Migos is the only song worth listening to that was released in 2014. If you need 2 others try these diddies:

2. "Red Eyes" by The War on Drugs
3. "Blockbuster Night Pt. 1" by Run the Jewels

Lester Townsend (to Aaron Bauer):

False, "Close Your Eyes and Count to F***" is the best Run the Jewels song of 2014.

Jason Iapicco:

I'll step in for Aaron on questions 1 and 2 since he doesn't have an answer. Why did we hire him again?

#1 - This depends on what you prefer. If you want to stand & sing for 90 minutes, then the supporter sections are for you (see part 2 for specifics of each group). This would encompass sections 133, 101, and 102. If you don't want to do that, then pretty much anywhere else in the stadium. There really isn't a bad seat in Red Bull Arena, price would be the only issue. Lower deck is more than the upper of course, and midfield seats are more than the corners/end lines. That's the very simplistic answer.

#2 - The answer I am going to give is very short and doesn't delve into any of the politics of the supporter's group, because their have been some contentious times, and it can be it's own set of articles.

The Empire Supporter's Club (ESC) is the oldest of the Red Bull Supporter Clubs. It was established in 1995, the year before the MetroStars kicked off at Giants Stadium. They reside in Section 101, and used to pregame at El Pastor in Newark before it closed down last year. They are currently searching for a new place.

The Garden State Ultras (GSU) were founded in 2005 as an offshoot of ESC. This group want to be more of a European style group, so they split off from ESC. They currently sit in section 133 and pregame at MMM Bello's in Newark.

The Viking Army is the last of the three major groups. They were founded in 2010/2011 during the Hans Backe era, and are named due to the influx of Scandinavian talent during that time. They are located in section 102, and have two pregame locations. The first is Catas in Newark, and they have a tailgate near the arena.

The one thing about supporter's groups is that you should take the time and talk to members of each. Like any group of people, it's hard to get a real feel of them without spending time with them.

What position do you think Connor Lade will play this season? Will he be a factor unlike last season? - Tyler

Anthony Ali:

Judging from some of the preseason matches, Jesse Marsch seems to prefer Lade as a right back. If that continues to be the case, he will most likely be Chris Duvall's back up. That being said, I think he'll be getting significant minutes this season. Marsch has placed an emphasis on giving the younger players more minutes, so I think he'll definitely be more of a factor than last season. His versatility doesn't hurt his chances either.