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Rise of the Empire (Maybe)

We've been making fun of the MetroStars/Red Bulls for 12 seasons now, huh? We've ridiculed their silly logos and their vacant stadium, their endless stream of head coaches, their poor personnel decisions, their losing records, their complete and total lack of presence in the vital New York market.

Maybe, just maybe, however, the Red Bulls have finally gotten their act together. They're making progress on a new stadium (Um, hello, D.C.? Anybody there? No? zzzzzz), they have a coach who understands the league and a veteran leader, Claudio Reyna, who is on the same page with the boss, The Bruce. Now comes the move that might just turn the Red Bulls into a championship contender: Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel.

Knowing it was unfair to rely on teenager Jozy Altidore to provide bunches of goals so early in his career, the Red Bulls used their second designated player slot (from Chivas USA for Guevara) to grab a world-class scorer.

Because it is New York, I will remain somewhat skeptical. (Something awful is bound to happen, right? Discontent with turf? Hypothermia?) But this has the makings of a GREAT move. If Angel finishes scoring opportunities and the NY defense remains adequate, if Mathis behaves himself and The Bruce doesn't get discouraged, the Red Bulls could become a real threat in the East.


By Steve Goff  |  April 17, 2007; 2:18 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Hello Steven,

With the recent acquisitions do you think the Red Bulls are the favorites in the east? Taking into account the defense problems that DC has, with a weak backline including the overrated Bobby Boswell.

Posted by: emilio | April 17, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I think losing has become a way of life for NY soccer, this won't change anything

Posted by: tex | April 17, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I think a whole lot still rides on Mathis maintaining his sanity and Reyna staying on the field. Raise your hand if you think either of these things are likely.

Posted by: tmc | April 17, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Disagree. Their defense is still horrible.

I realize we're not in a position to talk trash about other teams' defenses right now, but they're just playing poorly. The *talent* is there for D.C., Metro should be so lucky as to say the same.

Posted by: Goose | April 17, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Hate to admit it, but put me in the camp that thinks this will cement RBNY in the top two in the East. Their only remaining concern, perhaps, is that their defense is merely solid at very best. Most importantly as far as DCU is concerned, they've now got the speed, skill, and youth to cause undisciplined/flawed defenses some real problems. In other words, our romps over those perennial losers may be a bit harder to come by this year...

Posted by: iammrben | April 17, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

This is MLS. How a team performs in a particular season is independent of the season before and the season after. NY could very well be good, they certainly look good on paper.

That is, until Reyna blows out both knees and an elbow on the surface at Giants Stadium.

Posted by: Kim | April 17, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

They've made serious upgrades throughout the club. I know that Dallas was tired and out of sorts on Sunday, but RBNY looked like a class team.

The question for them is consistancy. Will Mathis play like he did this weekend for the whole season? I've got my doubts. Once Reyna gets back on the turf, will he remain effective?

Many questions linger about them, but if I were DC I'd still be worried. Let's be honest, United wasn't that much better than New York in the playoffs last year. While DC has certainly upgraded with Emilio, they're in serious trouble if their defense doesn't get it together and their midfield doesn't remember how to pressure the ball.

Posted by: Todd H. | April 17, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, Juan Pablo Angel will go from facing Premier League defenders, in rabid environments, to dealing with a team whose defenders, by their own front office's admissions, cannot cope with a wet field?

Even having lost a step, I think it safe to assume that JPA will find he has ample space and time in this league. With the threat posed by Altidore, defenders will be hard pressed to stifle both. One or both will benefit.

I look forward to seeing him light up the league (at least I hope he does).

Posted by: Erick | April 17, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

It seems just a few short weeks ago that the DP rule was ridiculed because no-one was following Beckham. I can't remember which ESPN or CNNSI writer who dismissed the DP rule, but I wonder if he'll change his tune.

I would not be surprised to see DC's Columbian population show up en masse for the NY matches. If DC only had a stadium to profit from that Zzzzzzzzz

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 17, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I still think Wynne will be the best US defender in 2-3 years. Let's grab him now while he's sitting on the bench.

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 17, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

N.Y. won't trade Wynne.

Posted by: Goff | April 17, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Their defense is still horrible"

They haven't allowed a goal yet this season.

In fact they haven't really allowed any good shots this season.

What more do you want from your defense?

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 17, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

IMO, don't underestimate the Red Bulls. They looked very good against FC Dallas. Hislop made some great saves, so the 3-0 score could have been much worse. There are a lot of variables, but nothing breads winning and confidence like winning and confidence. NYRB have to have some confidence after the FCD match. If Mathis is consistent, Reyna stays healthy, and the new guy produces half of expectations, I can see the Red Bulls raising the cup.

Posted by: T. Henry | April 17, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

They certainly have the best manager in MLS. Bruce just wins. Whether Angel succeeds in MLS is completely up in the air, you just never know how players from other leagues will adapt. He hasn't scored regularly in a few years - and only in a couple seasons for Villa. Scored like mad for the excellent River teams he played for though, with the help of Saviola, Aimar, etc.

Posted by: Kev | April 17, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on why Fred doesn't start? I mean, from what I've seen he's clearly in the best 11. Either play him on the flank or move Bennie out there, but he should be starting. Fitness, maybe?

Posted by: Matt | April 17, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Even though I despise the Red Bull, I applaud them for the move to get Angel. It will only benefit the league as a whole, and bring that much more attention to MLS on the world stage. Now since we are in dire straits for a quality defensemen, why not try and grab a Nesta from AC Milan? We could use our DP slot on him. Maybe Roberto Carlos, now that he is no longer in Real Madrid's plans. All that I am saying is that we should the DP slot on well established, in his prime, defenseman. Go get him, Mr. Payne.

Posted by: DC United Fan | April 17, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

How is it that they can afford 2 DPs and stay under the cap? Is everyone else making the minimum? How much are they paying their Eurogoalie? Did Mathis take a big pay cut? Or is it more of MLS rules are made to be broken?

Posted by: Glenn | April 17, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Glenn - DPs do not count towards the cap. From MLS...

"The Designated Player Rule will allow MLS to sign players whose salary will fall outside of the team salary budget and whose cost above the salary budget charge will be the financial responsibility of the club. A Designated Player's salary charge will be capped at $400,000, but his salary could be higher. The League office will continue to sign Designated Players under Major League Soccer's single entity system, but individual clubs will determine to whom they wish to assign Designated Player status."

Posted by: Kev | April 17, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I'll believe RBNY's success when I see it.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 17, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Also, isn't there a player from either Boca or River Plate that's rumored to be coming to MLS? I had the FSC broadcast of last weekend's Argentine SuperClasico on in the background while I was doing my taxes, and seem to recall them talking about someone possibly playing his last game in Buenos Aires. Anybody know who that is?

Posted by: Juan-John | April 17, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John - the Boca player you're referring to is Guillermo Barros Schelotto. He's a long time Boca star considering a move to Columbus (of all places)

Posted by: Kev | April 17, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

My unbiased opinion:
the Metropukes suck and always will.

That is all.

Posted by: Rocko | April 17, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse


I could be wrong but DPs do count for 400k worth yes? Or is it that the league pays the 400k and the team pays the rest. The question is could we sign a DP without having to get rid of players?

Posted by: Dan | April 17, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This team is starting to look legit to me. I mean, like him or not, we can't deny Arena's success in American soccer. If Reyna can stay healthy, I hate to say it, but watch out. I'm not looking forward to watching Erpen fall down in front of these guys...

Posted by: Duke | April 17, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Kev. In all the hoopla, has anyone mentioned the fact that JPA has one stellar season at Villa Park and not much since? He will certainly improve NY's front line, but I'm not convinced it will be by much. That said, I would pay good money to watch Cletus teach him how to dip.

Posted by: ABitOffsides | April 17, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Metros will not fail me, they'll implode. Totally confident.

Posted by: JSF | April 17, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Dan - yep, the DPs are paid 400k in league terms, then all the rest comes from the investor(s). So 400k counts towards the cap per DP. So with two DPs, RBNY have about 40% of their cap room invested in two players. That is how it works, right Steven?

Posted by: Kev | April 17, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I think that with the new MLS playoff rule - you will see 5 teams qualify from the East (DCU, NE, NY, CHI, KC). NY is the team with the most if's for key players(Angel - can he consistently score in MLS, Mathis - can he stay in shape and focused on soccer, Reyna - can he stay healthy, Altidore - can he continue to progress, Wattereus - can he survive hypothermia in the Swamp).

Posted by: Eric Z | April 17, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

They just traded Wynne to Toronto for draft

Poor, poor NY fans. MUAHAHAHHAHA...

Posted by: Dave | April 17, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"N.Y. won't trade Wynne.

Posted by: Goff | April 17, 2007 03:21 PM"

So much for that idea!

Posted by: Trex | April 17, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

If you think Reyna and Mathis are necessary to NY, look at how they dominated Dallas without Reyna, or consider that Mathis' position can be upgraded with Angel, keeping the same team on the field.

I don't like it but they'll be in or around the front of the pack this year.

Posted by: CHOCKI` | April 17, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Wel... it only took a few hours for them to totally blow it again.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. Great team. And, they were smart to get rid of Wynne. He's overrated.

Let's go get Kelly Gray or Ryan Cochrane.

Posted by: jj | April 17, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

What other moves will NY not do?

Posted by: JSF | April 17, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

" He hasn't scored regularly in a few years - and only in a couple seasons for Villa. "

He has scored at around the same rate of a Brian McBride: about 1 goal in every 3 appearances, and that's in the Premiership, against tougher, more physical defenses.

He should easily get 12-15 goals a year in MLS. And he'll draw enough defensive attention to give other NY attackers several more goals.

Keep in mind that with a much worse attack, but basically the same defense, NY tied more games than any other MLS team last year. It's not that they were a defensive team, either. THey just had no attack. Now they do.

Posted by: Hulot | April 17, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse


I think the Bruce has expertly assembled his team with the Angel signing the cherry on top of the cake.

The key to how far NYRB go this year, I believe, revolves around Mathis and Reyna. If Mathis returns to form and Reyna can keep healthy, I see the Bulls as definitely one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the League and a major challenger for the Cup.

Posted by: nick | April 17, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

OMG...they traded Wynne.

Posted by: The Tears of Wynne | April 17, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I should've said they wouldn't trade DC

Posted by: Goff | April 17, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"Okay, I should've said they wouldn't trade DC"

I won't say I told you so...

Damn DCU for not grabbing him. And for a draft pick!!!

Mo worked some magic on this deal.

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 17, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

OK, so NY has traded Marvell Wynne to Toronto for a draft pick.... Anyone think we can get Wynne to DC? Maybe a trade involving Brian Caroll? Wynne would give us the fast right back that we need to play 4-4-2.

Come to think of it, how bad must Jamil Fearrington have been in his DC trial to not warrant a roster spot? I seem to remember someone saying he was let go primarily b/c he fit better in a 4-man back scheme than a 3-man back. Think Kevin Payne would like to give him another look?

Posted by: James | April 17, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"Their defense is still horrible"

They haven't allowed a goal yet this season.

In fact they haven't really allowed any good shots this season.

What more do you want from your defense?

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 17, 2007 03:26 PM

Did you watch the game with the Crew? Crewzer had plenty of shots and good opportunities. No finishing, however. Does RBNY's game against Dallas really count? Wasn't that an exhibition or a testimonial or something? No way a game counts when a team plays Thursday night on one side of the continent and then plays on the other side less than three days later.

Don't believe the Red Bull Hype.

Angel? Sergio Galvan Rey? Same? Same?

Posted by: NYRB Hype | April 17, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"a game counts when a team plays Thursday night on one side of the continent and then plays on the other side less than three days later"

Are you saying DC United should return the Interamerican Cup?

Posted by: Haig | April 17, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Fearrington was awful during his trial.

Posted by: Goff | April 17, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse


How come Columbus has not officially announced Scheletto's signing? I thought it was supposed to happen today?

Posted by: DC United Fan | April 17, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Goff | April 17, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that the Red Bulls traded Wynne and not Magee or Taylor. Thoughts?

Posted by: 12th man | April 17, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

As for Wynne, I'm not sure he would help much. Sure he's freaking fast but that's about it. His technical ability is well below par which makes him less than ideal. You gotta wonder why Bruce let him go for so little. I would take a pass on the kid.

Posted by: owendylan | April 17, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

two 'great' trades by DCU this off-season: Prideaux for two 3rd round draft picks. 1st round draft pick for Dyachenko.

Are we trying to lead the league for the number of midfielders on a roster?

Posted by: Diego R. | April 17, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

have any of you watched marvell play? sure hes physically gifted, but thats really it. hes constantly out of position and has a weak grasp on the fundamentals - passing/controlling. why is this so shocking? if you get a guy in freeman who has more soccer skill - granted less physical ability - and can get the same job done for a fraction of the price, why not make the move regardless of JPA?

Posted by: Chico | April 17, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I just checked the DCU website and there are 15 (15!) players with an 'M' by their name on the roster. Maybe we should switch to a 2-7-1?

Posted by: Diego R. | April 17, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

As somebody who has watched almost every minute of wynne's pro career I will say the following:

The man cannot play soccer. He projects NOTHING forward. His crossing ability is non-existant, and his touch is one of the worst, if not the worst in the league.

Now to his much vaunted defense. If a team does any combination play/through ball/anything wynne is beaten. He has absolutely NO DEFENSIVE INSTINCTS. It is unreal, and I still cannot believe it.

Where is he solid? Usually on 1 v 1, but he has a crutch here. Wynne gets beaten very often on the 1 v 1, but the only reason that occurs, is because he can risk it. Every game, at least a handful of times, Wynne is beaten, only for him to do a speed burst and get back in the play. That works in MLS, against slower players, in the summer heat, but at the international level or in la Liga, Wynne is destroyed.

Quick question, which one of you would do this trade:

Wynne for Kleijstan/J. Hernandez.

If you dont' say yes, after watching the past MLS season, then you do not know soccer. wynne is not a soccer player. He is an athlete. Those guys are good to have sometimes, but if they are as rough as Wynne, they become a liability.

Posted by: arisrules | April 17, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't you mean "Jozy Altidores"?

That's what the paper (and have as his name.



Posted by: JayRockers! | April 18, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

N.Y. won't trade Wynne.

Posted by: Goff | April 17, 2007 03:21 PM

April 17, 2007
Red Bulls trade standout Wynne to Toronto FC

Posted by: d | April 18, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

The AP obviously doesn't know how to spell Jozy's last name. It appeared that way in every paper in the country. Feel free to contact the AP in New York.

Posted by: Goff | April 18, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

man, i'm losing my touch, i'm about the 5th poster to comment on the wynne trade. You know, this work thing really gets in the way of life.

Posted by: d | April 18, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

As I said earlier, my Wynne comment should have said there's no way they would trade him to D.C.

Posted by: Goff | April 18, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Trading away Wynne, no matter how you look at him, still leaves NY with a thinner group of players in the back. Considering that their defense is already the weakest part of their squad, this is going to hurt them.

Like many have said, a lot is riding on Reyna and Mathis. Playing on that terrible thing they call a surface in the Swamp is almost certainly going to cause Reyna some problems. With Reyna out, it would likely be Stammler in defensive midfield, but he's already supposed to be a first-choice center back. Mathis, meanwhile, has thus far seemed to be holding it together. Still, you can't deny the fact that Arena is essentially rolling the dice every game with these two.

I don't really think the game against Dallas tells us much. Dallas didn't have a single player that appeared interested in playing Sunday, and it showed. They were ripe for a beating, and NY did the professional thing and gave them one. However, playing a disinterested (and terrible defensively, even on their best days) Dallas side and playing a team raring to go are different things altogether. That said, this Red Bulls team is a tougher proposition than last year's even without Angel.

If Angel succeeds, Reyna stays fit, and Mathis doesn't lose his mind, they'll be a contender (though, due to the defense, not a favorite). If not, I don't see their other players being able to carry the offensive load to offset their defensive frailties.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | April 18, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Yes Reyna and Mathis are question marks for the NYPC's, but Angel and Altidore against our back 3 scares then crap out of me. And Arena, no matter how much I've always hated him back to the UVA days, can win in the MLS with a lot less talent than he has now. He always has a solid but not exceptional defense, but now he has 3 or 4 people up front who can create and finish goals. I'd take an iffy Reyna and Angel together at NYPC's over Reyna and Donovan at the USMNT any day of the week.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | April 18, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Don't believe the Red Bull Hype"

Seven points in three games. No goals conceded

Posted by: IL BRUCE | April 23, 2007 1:27 AM | Report abuse

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