We're getting close to the end of preseason: just two more games to play, and then the New York Red Bulls will be a week or so away from (CBA permitting) the first game of the MLS 2015 regular season. And that means RBNY's giant preseason roster could use a trim.
The latest cuts, announced on February 23, see Tim Ward, Collin Heffron and Gabriel Cajano - all trialists - depart.
The writing was on the wall for Ward from the moment this second phase of preseason started. Jesse Marsch needs a back-up left back, maybe two (since it would be prudent to assume Roy Miller could be tied up with Costa Rica for the Gold Cup, as well as the standard call-ups throughout the year). Tim Ward was once regarded as a decent MLS full back, but he's been effectively retired since 2012. Once Jesse Marsch brought three trialists to Bradenton capable of playing left back (Anthony Wallace, Kemar Lawrence and Karl Ouimette), it suggested Ward might not have won the coach's confidence in the first Florida training camp.
Heffron looked like a product of Marsch's experience coaching Ivy League soccer (he played for Dartmouth; Jesse spent some of his time between pro coaching jobs as an assistant at Princeton). He arrived billed as a midfielder, but was listed as a defender in RBNY's preseason training reports recently - so he may also have been made redundant by the influx of the new trialists in Bradenton.
Cajano was lined up to be a synergy signing, since he's a Red Bull Brasil product. But he is also a midfielder - and RBNY has plenty of those in camp and on the roster.
We still have no idea how the Red Bulls plan to create a squad for their USL team, so all three of these guys could pop back up for RBNY II at whatever point the club gets around to drawing up contracts for the reserves. (Although the official report described Cajano as having returned to Brazil - so he might be gone for good.)
The cuts mean there are 31 players in camp at the moment. Nine of them are auditioning for a contract. Whether the next round of cuts come while the team is still in Florida or after it has returned to Harrison, we can be assured there will be at least one more leavening of the current training squad before the regular season begins.