Man, 2014. What. A. Year.
The New York Red Bulls were one goal away from competing in MLS Cup, after a drawn out season that looked inconsistent. The Red Bulls got hot at the right time, and oh man weren't the playoffs fun?
Oh, well. Nostalgia is for people who want to relive their formative years and read BuzzFeed listicles. I, for one, prefer BuzzFeed's news section. It's much more #current if you ask me.
You know what else is #current? Being excited about the 2015 Red Bulls, here's why:
The New York Red Bulls continued their honored tradition of bringing in top talent from first division leagues in Europe by snagging Sacha Kljestan when he departed Anderlecht in Belgium. Somehow, the Red Bulls managed to avoid making Kljestan a Designated Player, and used enough allocation money to avoid losing a precious DP slot. How they managed to do this, does not matter. Just that it got done. It also leaves open the possibility of...
Two More Possible DPs!
You can say what you want about the Red Bulls sudden aversion to spend, but Ali Curtis saw the landscape for DPs and frankly it wasn't pretty. Why spend a lot of money on Cubo Torres, when we have Bradley Wright-Phillips? There's no reason! In July, non-Gerrard DPs will want some of that MLS money, and the Red Bulls will be there with open arms. Halfway through the season, the team should be doing well and an influx of top talent will put this team over the top.
I can't get enough of Bradley Wright-Phillips. I love him. I think he's an underrated striker, and in preseason has been working on creating space for his teammates. I think this is great, despite, warranted, concerns from others. Preseason is a time to work on things that are more experimental in nature. Wright-Phillips and Marsch are clearly on the same page about this, and trying to have BWP set up his teammates is a positive strategy. The team is relatively thin up front, but when you have someone who should have donned the "Three Lions" kit for a meaningless post-World Cup friendly last year, anything is possible.
So Many Options at Central Midfield
Dax McCarty, Felipe, Sacha Kljestan, Peguy Luyindula, Sean Davis, Leo Stolz, Connor Lade, and maybe more! The list goes on and on and on and on. There is creativity, experience, youth, and defensive-soundness there. It's a position that is vital to the cogs of the soccer machine, and there is a contingency plan in place not all of them get to play in...
The Red Bulls will have a reserve team playing in the third division (soon second?) of American soccer. NYRB II in USL is here to stay! Young players will no longer be "traffic cones" in practice, they will get a real live professional experience and be able to show their stuff in a nurturing environment to impress Jesse Marsch. NYRB II is the key to the re-made operation by...
Hold up. You're still trying to convince the readers here that the guy that fired Mike Petke and is clearly an MLS corporate shill is good for this franchise?
Yes. I was not as attached to Mr. Petke as y'all, and think an uptempo style of play that smothers teams for possession is the way this team has to play if they want to go for broke and be successful. Curtis knows this too, in my opinion, because our center backs are awful. There are going to be games where the Red Bulls have 70% possession and lose 1-0 (shoutout Football Manager '11 right here), but there are going to be games where the Red Bulls have 70% possession and win 4-1, This team has talent at all positions (Matt Miazga should start in my opinion once he is healthy), and the 4-2-3-1 will provide enough defensive cover for the duo of Zubar-Perrinelle. Curtis saw where MLS is going, and set the Red Bulls on a path to be successful in it. They will have to spend eventually (just like the Mets will too, guys), but right now they've got a style of play and a blue-collar team that fits that style. Sounds like a team Red Bulls fans want to root for.
Is anyone else excited for 2015? Am I full of it? Will you root for this team anyway or are you going to tell us how much fun it is no longer being a fan?