For 19 years, MLS wanted a successful franchise in the NY TV market. Now with the advent of New York City FC, they have one, and it's called the New York Red Bulls. It was a master plan from Don Garber. It's hard to see but if you look, the signs are there.
Entering the 2013 season, the Red Bulls had nothing to show for the 17 years of existence. Yes, they had a shiny stadium, but that was basically a gift from the league, and they had squandered it for the 3 years it was open. For all the financial advantages the league gave them (how else did they get Henry), the Red Bulls were no closer to a MLS Cup Final than the Quarterfinals during the Red Bull Arena era. Yes, they made the MLS Final in 2008, but Columbus Crew SC didn't get the memo about letting the Red Bulls win.
Due to this squandering of the league's effort to get a title (and fans) in New York, something had to be done, so New York City FC was born. A $100 million expansion fee was paid by Manchester City & the New York Yankees, but little to their knowledge, MLS had plans to get New York's first team to get a title. They just had to bide their time.
The last two years under the leadership of Mike Petke and Andy Roxburgh were good, but not good enough for the Soccer Don. He would've had Mike Petke fired after the first year, but he needed willing participants to achieve his goals, something he didn't have. This is obviously in spite of the 2013 Supporter's Shield win. For those wondering why Garber didn't congratulate the team on that year's trophy, sources have told Once a Metro that it was because things weren't done his way, so he couldn't acknowledge it.
So, as the story goes, Garber let 2014 run it's course. He pumped up NYC FC to get on the nerves of Red Bull fans. He had NYC FC sign big players. He had it set up to make it look like NYC FC would take control. Or so he wanted us to think.
After the 2014 playoffs, it was time for Gerber to implement the next stage of his plan.
- Force Andy Roxburgh to leave the Red Bulls.
- Bring in Ali Curtis as Roxburgh's replacement. Curtis worked with the league office, so he knew exactly what Garber wanted.
- Curtis then fires Mike Petke on Garber's wishes.
- Curtis brings in Jesse Marsch, who also worked with the league office, to implement an "Energy Drink" style of play.
- He told Manchester City that he would give them $25 million back if they held onto Frank Lampard for a few more months.
- Garber asked NYC FC to give up Zizzo to accept a loan for Ryan Meara and then immediately send him to Wilmington, so as to let Robles have the position for himself.
- Convenice draft pick Leo Stolz to forsake all teams but the Red Bulls, and promised to see him onto Salzburg at some point.
- Create controversy about the Yankee Stadium field so as to make Red Bull Arena look even better than a converted baseball field.
- Force a trade of Ambroise Oyongo's "contract" to Montreal so the Red Bulls could get Montreal's "allocation" spot, which they used on Sacha Kljestan.
- Tell MLS Digital to switch "NY" to "NYR" for the Red Bulls. The objective was to draw in New York Rangers fans by clouding the twitter hash tag. This one backfired as NYC FC diehards caught winds of the deception and petitioned for the league to recognize the Red Bulls as New York's first team.