The New York Red Bulls have kept whoever schedules their preseason friendlies busy this year. The perception that the club's entire preseason was thrown together at the last minute is an optical illusion: the schedule was announced late (and later, since it was announced in two parts) but we know plans were made for the current preseason before RBNY had full knowledge of what it was preseasoning for - since Jesse Marsch said the team's decision to winter in Arizona was based in part on the assumption there would be a Mexican opponent to play in CONCACAF Champions League at the end of February. (What's that? Yes, quite aware that Arizona is not in Mexico, thank you.)
So the Red Bulls had preseason plans well before they published them, which is of course the Red Bulls' prerogative. But we are starting to maybe understand why the club might have been reluctant to publish plans any earlier, and might wish it had waited even longer before issuing preseason schedule: the schedule keeps changing.
On the team's first trip to Arizona this year, an extra game against the University of Arizona's men's soccer team was added to the schedule, then removed, then turned into a 45-minute scrimmage on the team's last day.
It was possible to forecast the second half of RBNY's preseason schedule well ahead of its official publication, but when the official second-phase schedule was revealed, it included a surprise trip to Sacramento. And now that surprise trip has been cancelled due to the untimely intervention of the weather.
This appeared to be a blow to Jesse Marsch's plans. The head coach had been counting on two more preseason games to get his first team ready for CCL. With the Sacramento game called off, it appeared there would only be one.
But the Red Bulls' game-scheduler doesn't seem to take many days off.
Thanks @RickSchantz1 and Greg Foster for allowing me a chance to lead the @FCTucson squad. No rest @NewYorkRedBulls on Sunday @MLS @USLPDL— Jonathan Pearlman (@soccerrabbi) February 8, 2017
Jonathan Pearlman has just been named head coach of FC Tucson for the 2017 season. That Tweet preceded the news that RBNY's Sacramento game had been called off.
Once A Metro has learned the FC Tucson game was originally intended to be a scrimmage for players in the preseason camp who didn't see much or any time against Sacramento. It may now take on a greater significance for RBNY. It is OaM's understanding that the Tucson game will be (re)scheduled for Saturday, February 11 - expected to kick off around 6:00 pm, local time.
If we have learned anything from this preseason, it is wait for the official announcement: RBNY's schedule is nothing if not dynamic.
But the in-pencil plan to bring the FC Tucson game forward does look a lot like an effort to get a bit closer to the original schedule that would have seen the Red Bulls play friendlies on February 10 and February 15 (against NYCFC). It is now potentially looking at friendlies on February 11 and February 15.
Jesse Marsch told his first-teamers they had "two games left" before their season started with CCL. It would appear RBNY is at least trying to make sure the head coach is able to fulfill that promise, regardless of what the weather in Sacramento has done to the team's preseason schedule.
Update: looks like this game might be confirmed.
@CactusPricks @NewYorkRedBulls vs @FCTucson game is now Sat 2/11/2017 at 6:00pm— Jonathan Pearlman (@soccerrabbi) February 8, 2017