New England Soccer Today

Scouting Report: New York Red Bulls

The Revolution will have their hands full on Saturday facing Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper. (Photo: Joshua Pearson)

(Editor’s note: Prior to each Revolution match, New England Soccer Today will invite a reporter who covers the Revolution’s upcoming opponent to provide greater insight on what to expect on gameday.

This week, Kristian Dyer from Metro New York was kind enough to share his insight on the New York Red Bulls and what the Revolution can expect on Saturday.)


New England Soccer Today: What is the Red Bulls’ form through its first seven games? How do you think their 4-1 loss at D.C. affected them?

Kristian: Very up and down to say the least. The Red Bulls beat the team they were supposed to beat – a depleted Colorado at home and then Montreal the next week, winning on the road in Columbus then drawing San Jose. That’s not a bad stretch of four games. Then injuries and suspension took its toll on Sunday and D.C. United made it hurt. This team has yet to find a rhythm to this season – or an identity.

What things have the Red Bulls done particularly well so far this season?

Three words: Henry and Cooper. With two of the three top scorers in the league, New York has been clinical in its finishing. I was originally opposed to the loan deal that sent Thierry Henry to Arsenal for a spell this winter but he came in fit and on form. We’ll see if that holds up the rest of the season and if he can ward off the injury bug.

But props should go to Dax McCarty as well, who looks far more settled this year and is playing well high-up in the midfield.

Which areas still need improvement, besides the defense?

To say “Besides the defense” ignores that the defense is clearly the biggest issue on this team. Not even close. This back four is about as effective a defense as the ‘Maginot Line.’ But to your point Brian, the wing play has been sporadic at best. Dane Richards hasn’t consistently gotten behind the back line and Joel Lindpere doesn’t yet look like the MLS All-Star of last year.

Given the club’s inconsistent form so far this season, do you think Hans Backe has to start worrying about job security?

I think the seat is getting warmer although the club might be making the mistake of building solely for the playoffs. Remember, Backe’s first year in MLS was 2010 when Colorado made that tremendous run through the playoffs to the MLS Cup. He might be counting on that kind of success this year: Just make it into the playoffs if you will. That’s a dangerous game to play.

Two players the Revs will certainly have to pay attention to is Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper. But which “unsung hero” should the Revs also keep an eye on come Saturday?

I imagine Lindpere will return to the Starting XI on Saturday after two games on the bench and will aim to make an impact. He’s been dinged up this year but you’d be hard pressed to find a player in the entire league who cares about his team and his personal play than the Estonian. If he starts, which he should, he will play very well.

What are some of things that the Red Bulls will try to do on Saturday to stack the odds in their favor?

An early goal wouldn’t hurt, and they need to learn to turn meaningless possession into worthwhile attacks. The Red Bulls are the Barcelona of MLS as they can switch fields, hold the ball along their backline and work it into the final third. But unlike Barca, one they get near the penalty area, they clam-up and look inept. Consistently, they hold possession nearly every game but don’t turn that into as many chances as one might think.

I think that if Cooper and McCarty, both of whom have good outside shots along with Lindpere can stretch the Revolution defense with some tries from distance, things can open up for balls into the area that Henry can finish.

What is their likely starting 11 against the Revs?

Rookie Ryan Meara gets the nod again; he’s been solid this year in a way. The backline from the D.C. United loss returns with Jan Gunnar Solli, Markus Holgersson, Stephen Keel and rookie Connor Lade all getting the nod. I think Backe will slide Mehdi Ballouchy out of the left wing and insert Joel Lindpere, for a midfield that also will include Dax McCarty, Victor Palsson and Dane Richards. Up top will be Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper.


Kristian Dyer covers the Red Bulls for Metro New York and Big Apple Soccer. He also covers the New York Jets and Rutgers University and has contributed to

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