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Our 2015 New York Red Bulls Predictions

You thought we were done with this season preview stuff? Think again?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Bauer

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2015?

The Red Bulls will either be very good or very bad this year in my opinion. Which means in reality they will be a 5 seed going into the playoffs. I think if the Red Bulls have the best home field advantage in the east as we saw in the one game playoff against Sporting Kansas City. With the Houston Dynamo and SKC going out west being replaced by a sub par Orlando City SC and a wildcard New York City team, I think for sure we are a playoff team. Once you get into the playoffs anything can happen due to small sample sizes. I think we make it to the conference semi-finals like every year. Then lose to like D.C. United or New England Revolution. Same stuff, different year.

What's really going to go down in Harrison this year?

What isn't going down in Harrison this year? I think the next two years are going to be transition years (albeit with a talented enough roster to get to the playoffs but not make a deep run) before the team (hopefully) starts to flourish. I think a new ownership group is coming, and I wonder how much of the moves the Red Bulls have made are actually being done by the Red Bulls and not an Ali Curtis-MLS front office partnership that is actually running things behind the scenes. This could be really good or really bad or this is actually how MLS works and we are just pawns in the single-entity machines. Maybe by partnering with MLS we will finally win an MLS Cup and the whole thing is rigged kind of like those nuts who think David Stern rigged the NBA (he. did. not.)

Going out on a limb here...

Bold prediction: The New York Red Bulls win the venerable US Open Cup.

Austin Fido

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2015?

Fifteen players out (16 if you include Armando) and 12 new faces in (at the time of writing this). Plus a new coaching team. It looks a lot like there will be a familiar feel to lineup: 4-2-3-1; Robles in goal; Chris Duvall and Roy Miller bracketing the defense; Dax McCarty in the middle; Bradley Wright-Phillips up top. But I have not idea how this team will gel, and what Jesse Marsch's "uptempo" tactics mean we'll see on the field.

You expect a few missteps when a team is rebuilding under a new coach. And squad depth is a concern all over the pitch. But we saw unheralded back-ups step up last season, and there's no reason that can't happen again. If Marsch knows how to coach a defense, is able to influence a game after it kicks off, and - most importantly - has the confidence of his players, this season could be a lot of fun. Or it might not.

My hunch is this is a playoff team. Finishing sixth out of 10 teams in the East should be the club's minimum target for the season. Anything less calls into question the wisdom of the regime change. And the playoffs favor teams in form late in the year, which may play right into RBNY's hands, since it will likely take a while for this collection of players to reach peak form as a unit. So count me as cautiously optimistic: I'm aware of the issues the team is facing, but I think it all gets figured out by around August and RBNY trots into the postseason. I'm also choosing to believe the club will target US Open Cup for serious attention, and make a deep run in that tournament.

But there are plenty of teams in MLS that didn't blow themselves up in the off-season and have the sort of continuity in place that generally signals success. RBNY will bow out to one of those contenders in both playoffs and US Open Cup, and then we'll all watch to see if the club will hold its nerve and stick to whatever plan Curtis and Marsch were signed up to implement.

What's really going to go down in Harrison this year?

The defense will wobble precariously for the first few months, and Marsch will confound us all with Osorio-like lineup changes as he shuffles frantically to find the right mix. We'll be sick of hearing about "sophistication" by the end of April. BWP will be asked to act more as a creator and decoy than finisher, and the resulting slump in scoring output will trigger an excruciating revival of "Thierry Henry effect" chuntering from those who should know better.

And then the team will figure it out. Some tactical epiphany - maybe restoring BWP to last year's role; maybe arriving on a settled back line - will flip things around and momentum will arrive in time for the post-season. Basically, it'll be 2014 all over again.

Going out on a limb here...

It all comes together from the start. BWP leads the team in assists. Damien Perrinelle, not Ronald Zubar, proves to be the defensive lynchpin, and Robles breaks the RBNY record for career shutouts (he's 10 behind Tony Meola). The team wins US Open Cup. Bowing out of the playoffs in the Conference semi-final gets framed as failure by a media that has forgotten all the question marks hanging over this team in March.

Lester Townsend

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2015?

They will sneak into the playoffs with a 5th or 6th seed (praise be to the extra playoff spot), maybe win a play-in match, but lose in the conference semi-finals. Management will spin it as a positive and "a step in the right direction," but fans will be annoyed and point out the hypocrisy.

The Red Bulls will advance to the quarters or the semifinals of the Open Cup. It will be a pleasant surprise.

Honestly, I don't know how this team rebounds from losing the RSTLNE Cup during the preseason. Hopefully they take advantage of any opportunities to win a meaningless tournament during the year.

What's really going to go down in Harrison this year?

Honestly, not a lot. I think it's going to be a really boring season, which in my opinion is worse than a bad one. Bad teams generate feelings of some kind, but boring teams go nowhere. There won't be another Designated Player signing, let alone two. The celebrities won't show up to matches anymore, and will instead go to matches at Yankee Stadium. And that's what truly matters: how many celebrities are at Red Bull Arena.

I think Felipe Martins will have a really good year and Grella will score 5-10 goals. Bradley Wright-Phillips will score 10 goals, but unfortunately all of his goals will be credited to the presence of Thierry Henry's ghost.

Kljestan will be underwhelming. Dax will struggle with positioning, but get it together by midseason. Karl W. Ouimette will be the best new player. Matt Miazga will slowly become the player he was meant to be.

Going out on a limb here...

Red Bull will sell to a different owner before the first game of 2016. Crazy. Wacky. Also, there will be another international friendly almost on the level of Arsenal. Season ticket holders will make another killing on the secondary market. It will be Manchester United or Barcelona.

Jason Iapicco

How will the Red Bulls fare in 2015?

The Red Bulls are in a familiar position, a rebuilding era. They really shouldn't be given how 2014 ended, 1 goal away from the MLS Cup final. Like clockwork though, there's a new front office, a new coach, and a new landscape of player faces for fans to get used to. 2015 will be a tough year for the Red Bulls with plenty of bad moments as this new iteration of the team comes together.

What's really going to go down in Harrison this year?

With the expansion of the playoffs from 5 to 6 teams per conference, the Red Bulls (and everyone else) has a 60% chance of making the playoffs. They will find a way to get there as it's almost impossible not to, even with a rebuilt team. Expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC will have trouble finding a footing, like all expansion teams do, leaving the Red Bulls in a prime position. They'll probably win a playoff game or two, but don't expect another playoff run. Most of the East got better while we don't know how the Red Bulls did in the off-season.

Going out on a limb here...

The Red Bulls win the domestic treble (US Open Cup, Supporter's Shield, MLS Cup). Without the CCL weighing the team down this year, the team can focus on all 3 competitions, especially with NYRBII providing a source of depth in case of injury.