The New York Red Bulls entered the preseason with a questionable outlook on the season, as they were placed at #11 in the initial power rankings by MLSsoccer.com, down two spots from where they finished 2014. If you follow that red line starting at the #11 position (sorry for the busy chart ), the weekly rankings sort of resemble how the offseason went. Lots of optimism after an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, followed by a steady decline into anxiety as front office personnel, coaches and players were brought in and out of the organization.
On the field in 2015, after a hot start and sitting in one of the top three spots from Week 4 through Week 11, the Red Bulls took a nosedive. 1... 2... 6... 9... 11... 12... 17. Not the trajectory you expect your team to be on after such a promising beginning. As Matthew Doyle points out, it could be attributed to the absence of young sensation, Matt Miazga. The team went 0-2-4 while he was at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Power Rankings are by their nature, subjective. A true PR shouldn't be a mere snapshot of the current table. There should be weight given to how teams are performing and how difficult they are to beat at the given moment. Let's hope RBNY's recent improvement in the league's Power Rankings is a good sign of things to come.
We are at the midpoint of the MLS season since we have completed Week 17. Yes, some teams have played more than others at the moment (RBNY only has 16 games under its belt), but midway through the season is a great time to evaluate future expectations.
RBNY has 23 points at the moment through 16 games (1.44 ppg). Based on past MLS season analysis, it is generallyaccepted that 50 points should be the target for a team hoping to secure a place in the playoffs, meaning RBNY needs to grab 27 points in 18 games. If RBNY continue on their current path, they'll grab 26 more points. Literally on the edge of the playoffs at 49 points. On that evidence, #10 is probably a good PR position for the Red Bulls.
This is a bubble team on present form: sometimes pretty good, sometimes abject - which evens out to something close to the league's median.
I'd love to hear your take on the evidence in the comments. Take the poll too!