Welcome to another edition of Three Questions in which a Q&A session is held between SBNation brother MLS blogs. It's a great way to give a perspective to both teams' fans to get to know the opponents and to then to either hate them or feel pity for a second then hate them some more :-)
Mount Royal Soccer asks Once A Metro
1) The Red Bulls are playing the classical 4-4-2 with Thierry Henry / Kenny Cooper at the top. How would describe the NY Red Bulls style of play as a unit? Any weak points that scouting reports would usually mention?
The Red Bulls have moved between a few different styles in the last few years, and it's not totally clear yet where this team will settle. In 2010, the team was defence-first, usually played two defensive or holding players in central midfield, and attacked mainly down the wings. Last year, New York played a possession-based game for most of the year, with a bit more creativity in the middle, but much more defensive fragility (possibly as a result of the less conservative approach). In the last few games of the year, they became more counter-attacking and defensive.
So far this year, the Red Bulls have been closer to the possession-based style that they used for most of last season, albeit with less creativity in the middle. The return of Rafa Márquez against Colorado added a bit more passing quality to the midfield, but both he and Dax McCarty are primarily holding players in the center of the park. New York relies heavily upon the wing play, with Dane Richards' pace on the right and the dynamism of Joel Lindpere on the left, as well as the inventiveness of Thierry Henry up top
More after the jump..follow the breadcrumb trail...
The Red Bulls' defence and the supply to the strikers are the weakest areas of the team so far this season, although both problems seemed to have been solved against the Rapids by returning players: Wilman Conde had recovered from an injury to make his debut at centerback, and Rafa Márquez came back from suspension to take his place in midfield. Despite the impressive performance of Conde, New York is weak at both fullback positions, and it's not clear that Márquez is the right player to serve as the central creative force.
2) Do you see the NY Red Bulls redeeming a dissapointing season as per their standards and become a '' Favorite Underdog'' in the East?
I'm still relatively optimistic about this season (compared with most Red Bulls fans). Like last year, there's enough talent in the squad for us to do very well, and if we play up to our talent level, first place in the East by the end of the season would not surprise me. On the other hand, I thought that we could do the same last year, and the team certainly fell short. Most importantly, the Red Bulls need better passing from midfield, either in the form of a central playmaker (deep-lying or just behind the strikers) or from a group of two or three players in the middle. If New York picks up a player in this mold during the summer transfer window, we should win the East, possibly the Supporters' Shield, and could kick on to win MLS Cup.
3)The idea out there is that Designated Players see 2 MLS markets: LA/NY and the rest. Is that a correct perception? and the 20th MLS team most probably coming to NY, would that fragment the MLS market in the tri-state area or re-enforce it?
As far as the DPs are concerned, I think that's broadly true at first -- not many MLS clubs or cities have any kind of global brand. That said, the success of Dallas, Salt Lake, and Seattle has shown that teams with and without Designated Players can have success, and that those players will go to cities besides New York and Los Angeles. As the league develops, the perception that the two biggest media markets are the only 'sexy' places for high-profile players to go will change.
I've had too many debates and discussions about NY2 to count -- it's been beaten to death. I am completely against the league awarding the twentieth team to New York for several reasons, chief among them that it will hurt the Red Bulls and not fulfill the potential of an MLS club (in that it, too, will be operating in a divided market). It's very hard for anything outside of football, baseball, and basketball to get media coverage in New York (the Rangers have had a great year and are still playing second or even third fiddle to the other teams), and adding another team is not going to change that. Some portion of the Red Bulls' fanbase will switch over to the new team, but a second team won't make people want to watch MLS, which is the essential problem for all clubs in the league.