The New York Red Bulls will preseason on the same day as their season starts, which is a neat trick. RBNY is, of course, the club that also currently has a player on loan to nowhere (where have you gone, Anatole Abang?) and is apparently no longer in need of any sporting director at all, since the departure of the SD once personally credited with creating the plan the club is currently following. So having a preseason game in Arizona on the same day as it will play a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal is maybe not at all a surprise from RBNY, a club that increasingly seems willfully unorthodox.
And, of course, this game is no surprise. We knew about the double-booking of the Red Bulls' time and attention weeks ago. And we have known the solution for some time too: the first team is in Harrison to play Vancouver; NYRB II is getting its preseason underway in Arizona.
If you aren't acquainted with NYRB II's Twitter account - this is a good time to get to know it, as it is the near-exclusive feed for information out of the training camp in Arizona.
We know that camp is mostly made up of Academy players and trialists. And we know it will be a makeshift team that plays Houston.
Rafa Diaz, Tim Schmoll, David Najem, Florian Valot, Vincent Bezecourt, and Brandon Allen count as the veteran core of the team. But every season is an opportunity for unknowns to make themselves known with NYRB II - that is sort of the point of a development squad.
These Red Bulls have nothing to lose. They are expected to be outclassed and over-matched at every position by Houston's MLS-ready squad. The worst that can happen to NYRB II in this outing is it loses a preseason friendly. The best? Embarrassing a supposedly better opponent would be nice.