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New York Red Bull preview

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New York Red Bulls
Founded: 1995 as New York/New Jersey MetorStars
Home Stadium: Giants Stadium (Red Bull Arena to Open in 2010)
Record Since 2000: 106-111-62
All Time Scorer in MLS: Giovanni Savarese (41)
All Time Cups/Shields: 0
2008 Record: 10-11-9, 39 pts, 5th in East, Western Conference Playoff Champions
2008 Leading Scorer: Juan Pablo Angel (14)
2008 Keeper: Jon Conway (1.50 GAA, 7 Clean Sheets)

Capsule: The energy drink team will probably run a 3-5-2 most matches with the defense being captained by returnees Petke and Stammler. Connecting that line up to Juan Pablo Angel will be the challenge for coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Red Bull has three new additions on the wings and up top with short time Sounder Khano Smith joining Dominic Oduro and Macoumba Kandji in trying to replace the loss of Dave van den Bergh who moved on to FC Dallas. Conway will start the season serving a remaining suspension for PED use so Sounders FC will face Danny Cepero between the pipes. The young keeper had a decent start to his career scoring a goal on a free kick from 80 yards out, but his Goals Against Average in both league and playoff matches is a 1.33 due to his huge performances in the Playoffs. This first test for the Sounders is a good challenge to face a playoff club with goals to challenge for a return to the MLS Cup Final.

Further Depth: Red Bulls are currently lead by Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio who has head coaching experience with the Chicago Fire and Millonarios of Bogata. He was also on assistant with Manchester City and the MetroStars. Similar to Sigi Schmid’s leaving the Crew, the Fire were compensated for Osorio’s loss.

In 2008 Red Bulls had a season that is typical of middle table MLS clubs, good at home, but awful on the road. Their attack was lead by Angel and Dave van der Bergh from the left wing, as they lost Jozy Altidore to Spanish club Villareal during the season. Sounders FC expansion pick Jeff Parke is credited with leading the defense their 3-5-2. Squeaking into the playoffs as the final seed they were forced out West where they beat Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake going on to lose in the MLS Cup Final to Sigi Schmid.

Their 2009 season sees them with significant transition, as they lost former Designated Player Claudio Reyna to retirement, van den Bergh to FC Dallas, Hunter Freeman to Toronto FC and IK Start and Jeff Parke in the expansion draft. Recently Angel was signed to a multi-year extension and he will try and capitalize on the additions of Khano Smith, Dominic Oduro and Macoumba Kandji in the offense. This is a lot of speed on the wings, something which was generally lacking on the older Red Bulls teams.

The defense will be lead by the Goalkeeping duo of Jon Conway and Danny Cepero. Conway will start the season with 4 games left on a suspension for a performance enhancing drug violation, but Cepero is the only keeper to score in a non-penalty situation in MLS history, and did carry the team on its Playoff run last season. Mike Petke takes over as the anchor in center defense for Parke with Kevin Goldthwaite in left back and the right side being held in combination by duo Andrew Boyens and Carlos Mendes.

Watch to see how Seth Stamler and Jorge Rojas connect the backline to the speed on the wings and potent accuracy of Angel. Their season will likely depend on the integration of the new players into the Osorio system, but with the speed they have in attack they will always be a threat.