1. The Red Bulls went through a bit of coaching drama this offseason. Jesse Marsch was supposedly on his way to manage RB Salzburg, and Chris Armas - the greatest Puerto Rican soccer player ever - was set to replace him. Then...nothing happened. Mysteriously, no one knows what's going on with Ali Curtis, who's the architect of RBNY's recent success. Will this unsettle the team, or will the Red Bulls be able to put this behind them and keep on building on their current success?
The team doesn't seem distracted by the more-than-likely departure of Ali Curtis. It's been over a month since anyone has heard from him. The fans are the ones that seem to be the most distracted.
Fans started to get tipped off that something was going down when Dax McCarty was traded. Normally the transaction articles all have a quote from the Sporting Director, but Dax's was the first time he wasn't quoted. Since then, none of the signings had Curtis quoted.
Fans are speculating that Jesse Marsch was the puppet master behind the trade and Ali Curtis was against it. Unfortunately for Curtis, if you don't get in the bus, you risk getting run over by it.
2. Speaking of leaving behind, RBNY traded midfielder Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire this offseason. McCarty, whom many would argue was the beating soul of the Red Bulls, wasn't happy about being traded. How do you think the Red Bulls perform without McCarty? How do you think they set up and perform without him in the midfield?
The fans, Dax and his teammates were all taken by surprise by the trade. It was a gut punch. He was our captain and probably one of the most consistent players on the roster. And how do you break the news to him the same weekend as his wedding? Savage. My hope is that Sean Davis brings back his performances from last season while Dax was injured.
The team played a 4-2-3-1 last season, but has been experimenting with a 4-2-2-2 this preseason. It looks as if Sean Davis will be the one lining up alongside Felipe for the two CDMs. Davis doesn't have the field sense that Dax did, but he was a solid replacement. Now he has to do it all season long.
3. The Hudson River Derby's been one-sided -- to say the least. Historically, DC United's been the biggest rival to the Red Bulls. But with NYCFC making the playoffs last season, and with the team getting a lot younger, do you think that changes this season -- especially as DC United continues to stagnate?
No doubt that this rivalry is heating up. NYCFC did take one game from RBNY last season and made it to the same playoff round, so much of the pressure was taken off to get points against RBNY. The rivalry is in its infancy, but I'm starting to side with my brother (NYCFC supporter) that it doesn't become a real derby until either regular season results end up having playoff implications or they have some knock down, drag out playoff series over the next few years.
We caught a glimpse of the possibilities this season with the Toronto and Montreal games. Also, NY fans don't have to look much further than the Yankees and Red Sox. This rivalry didn't heat up until both were relevant and they kept knocking each other out of the playoffs.
And it's cool by me if DC wants to remain stagnant, mid-table.