Friday, February 16, 2007

Small Victories and the Big Picture

Winning three straight preseason games down in Bradenton Fla, against the Kiddie Korps US National Team U-17's, the punchless Wizards and the rival United of DC is not that big a deal. But these small victories do provide a sneak preview into Bruce Arena's plans for Red Bull New York, in this, his first full season directing the squad.

  • The Nick Rimando signing on top of the Ronald Waterreus acquisition makes Jon Conway surplus to requirements. Rumor has it that Conway may be headed to Toronto FC, where Mo Johnston can reciprocate with something useful for his former club.

  • While precocious youngster Jozy Altidore continues to impress down by the Gulf Coast, the Agustin Delgado Watch refuses to go away. The Ecuadoran hothead is a proven, if brittle, goalscorer, but can the Meadowlands endure yet another aging, tempermental striker with suspect motives for joining Major League Soccer? Maybe Arena intends to blood Altidore and sign Delgado, not as his primary source of goals, but as an insurance policy against Jozy's inevitable growing pains. Or is it vice-versa?

  • So far, it looks like Arena is toying with a veteran midfield featuring Claudio Reyna, 33, Markus Schopp, 33, Dave van den Bergh, 31 and Dema Kovalenko, 30, while fielding talented, but green, youngsters like Altidore, 17, and Marvell Wynne, 20, up top and in the back, respectively. With Waterreus between the sticks, the Red Bulls seem content choosing from Wynne, Todd Dunivant, Seth Stammler, Jeffe Parke, and Carlos Mendes in defense, but center fullback may be a weak spot with this current group of players.
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