In a less turbulent off-season - one that didn't involve the abrupt exit of the team's captain and a protracted separation from its sporting director - Mike Grella's health might have been a bigger story.
In mid-January, Kristian Dyer reported for Metro (no relation) that the club was happy with Grella's recovery from off-season surgery to address a hernia that he'd been playing with for "the last couple of months of the season". He then picked up a knee injury in preseason, and was back in for surgery at the beginning of February.
Grella was declared "ready to play" in an official club statement ahead of its season-opener, the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Vancouver Whitecaps on February 22.
At Red Bulls Media Day, two days before the team's home-opening CCL match, MSG got Grella's own assessment of his condition.
"I feel good. I just feel like a little bit of an upper knee, quadricep tendonitis, so it's like an ongoing thing but I feel like I'm moving in the right direction," Grella told MSG. Asked if he had a timetable for his return, he said, "Yeah, you know - ease myself back in. It's a little bit painful at times, but moving in the right direction. Hopefully, it's something that goes away soon."
The New York Red Bulls said Mike Grella is ready to play - and he certainly sounds like he's ready to try. But that "ready to play" statement also included Alex Muyl - back on the field in training with a protective mask after suffering facial fractures about three weeks ago - and Damien Perrinelle, whose participation in preseason was limited by contract and visa issues.
The club didn't have to announce these players were ready: it did so, it is fair to assume, because it wanted us to know they are ready. But "ready' is a broad term, and in Grella's case at least "ready" would seem to mean "able and willing" rather than "100% recovered from surgery".