We're officially having the season promised by the schedule, and that means the threatened transformation of this site into an unending chain of "Girls" recaps is off the table. The season continues! And so too do our previews. This installment is a glance at
as many sites as I could think of some of the opinions being expressed in other corners of the web.
Mlssoccer.com: The league's
propaganda arm website has done a nice job with its previews this season. There's a city guide (which is particularly keen on restaurants in Brooklyn) and a number of previews of RBNY, most prepared by Matt Doyle.
In his first take, Mr. Doyle is concerned about the Red Bulls' back line and points out the team will miss Thierry Henry. In his second take, he points out the team will miss Thierry Henry.
Pravda Mlssoccer.com also offers a video preview in which there is more anxiety expressed about the back line and the absence of Thierry Henry.
Soccer Gods' resident RBNY fan, Kevin Brown, drops the prediction: top three in the Eastern Conference, which neatly matches the prediction offered by Mr. Doyle in his preview. Always thinking at the league's head office: that's a backhanded reference to Papa Red Bull's treasured synergy if ever there was one.
Sbisoccer.com: Former RBNY beat writer for mlssoccer.com Franco Panizo takes the preview for SBI. He tags Ronald Zubar as one to watch (defense concerns) and Sacha Kljestan as the man under pressure to make up for...the absence of Thierry Henry.
Mr. Panizo's preview devotes a lot of space to an extended discussion of tactics from Jesse Marsch - worth a read in its own right. The words "organized chaos", "pressing", "tempo and pace that's fast" and, surprisingly, "Barcelona" are used.
"Playoffs or bust" says Mr. Panizo in lieu of a prediction.
Goal.com: Ives Galarcep takes the RBNY preview and sees Sacha Kljestan as the team's top newcomer and BWP as the player to watch. He thinks the Red Bulls should be considered a playoff team, but no more than that since the Eastern Conference looks crowded with improved teams.
Empireofsoccer.com: Over at EOS, Ryan Brister's preview of RBNY picks Felipe Martins as the man tasked with filling Henry's shoes. He's concerned about BWP not scoring as many goals as he did in 2014, but suggests theRed Bulls could cruise into the playoffs if money is spent in the summer. And if they don't, he sees a team that's one Thierry Henry short of being able to compensate for its shortcomings.
ESPN FC's Doug McIntyre sees the Eastern Conference largely as a three-horse race between D.C. United, New England Revolution and Colmbus Crew. RBNY slots in as a team on the bubble, contingent on how well Jesse Marsch gets his new signings to gel with the players he inherited from Mike Petke.
NBC's Pro Soccer Talk hadn't got round to previewing RBNY in time for this round-up, and generally appears to have little to say about the team other than picking out BWP as one of the league's top 10 returning players and plugging the NY derby as a rivalry to watch out for in 2015.
Lastwordonsports.com's RBNY preview appears to have been written at the end of January - though that just be my own inept navigation of the site. The headline - "2015 New York Red Bulls season could be an utter disaster" - is a decent synopsis of the piece.
A British perspective is offered by MLS GB's Lewis Addley, who singles out Zubar and BWP as ones to watch, but concludes RBNY has changed "too much, too quickly" to be favored for much more than a transition year. He's predicting the team will finish 8th in the East.
Sportal.com.au provides an Australian view, picking RBNY as one of the teams to watch for in the coming season, and framing the season ahead in terms of trying to push forward from 2014 and get past the Eastern Conference final.
In Canada, TSN.ca's preview is also optimistic: BWP isn't looking around for Henry's replacement, he is Henry's replacement. And the site takes the view that RBNY will be carried by its attack to contention for the Eastern Conference.
It's a big old internet and I have surely missed a few previews and predictions, not least those yet to be written. But general expectations of RBNY's 2015 would seem to be modest. The team has made the playoffs every year since it moved to Red Bull Arena (indeed, it has only missed the MLS playoffs four times...ever), and most media observers - reluctantly or with enthusiasm depending on their opinion of the new-look squad - seem inclined to credit the Red Bulls with sufficient ability to make another post-season. But few are tipping them to do much more than participate in the 2015 playoffs.
But if you really want to know opinion about RBNY's chances in 2015, have a glance at those who make their living from predictions: the bookmakers. In particular, British bookmakers, who will take a bet on just about anything.
As of March 5, Paddy Power was offering 16/1 odds on the Red Bulls winning MLS Cup: lagging behind favorites LA Galaxy (3/1), Seattle (5/1), DC and New England (8/1), Toronto (9/1), RSL (10/1), and the powder blue pairing of Sporting Kansas City and NYC FC (14/1).
William Hill has RBNY at 14/1: the same odds as NYC FC, and trailing LA (7/2), Seattle (11/2), New England (8/1), DC (10/1), and RSL (12/1).
SkyBet also has RBNY at 14/1, behind LA (7/2), Seattle (9/2), New England (8/1), DC (9/1), TFC (12/1) and RSL (12/1).
Once A Metro does not endorse gambling, but it is handy that odds exist when you're writing about predictions for the coming season.
Upper-tier of the also-rans sound about right to you for RBNY's 2015? Say it ain't so, or say that it is, in the comments! (And load us up with more previews, if you're so inclined.)